The Fallacy of ‘Emancipation’: African Americans in Florida from 1865 - 1870

1918 Words8 Pages
The African-American during the Reconstruction Era probably felt victorious as well as discomfited. Prior to the Civil war, slaves hoped freedom would give them the right of equal status in American society, but their dream of an egalitarian America was impeded after Lincoln’s assassination. To add to former slave woes, the southern economy lay destitute. Many southerners felt the added wage earners (former slaves) would destroy the cotton business’s productivity. Stated thus, many African-Americans were subjugated by White Elitists. Nevertheless, black Floridians advocated for economic, social, and even political equality, despite the hostile environment. This is interesting because it goes against the popular misconception of Florida’s…show more content…
The United States, Florida included, went through changes that were tough on many southerners. The Florida African-American found changes in education, federal as well as state legislation, social ideologies and economic prospects both beneficial and detrimental to finding equality. We cannot stress the important differences between Presidents during the initial years of Reconstruction. Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Johnson played important roles in legislating post war policies. After the war, one of the major questions to consider was how to reintegrate the former seceded states back into the Union. Lincoln looked to stabilize the Union, thus he acknowledged that post war policy-making should be enforced by statewide legislation (through his Ten Point Plan) not by Washington -- though the federal government would regulate statewide politics to make sure compliance was met satisfactorily. But northern republicans would not compromise with Lincoln’s plan, they passed the Wade-Davis Bill to counter the Ten-Point Plan, which disfranchised southerners who took oath in compliance with the Amnesty Proclamations. Following his assassination, Democrats and Republicans continually battled for legislative power. His former Vice-President did not entirely agree with his political philosophy as Johnson, in agreement with many of the hard nosed northerners, enacted a stronger federal policy toward southern states. For

More about The Fallacy of ‘Emancipation’: African Americans in Florida from 1865 - 1870

Open Document