Pertaining to the rights of African Americans a new south did not appear after the reconstruction. While they were “free” they were often treated harshly and kept in a version of economic slavery by either their former masters or other white people in power. Sharecropping and the crop-lien system often had a negative impact on both the black and white tenants keeping them in debt with the owner. Jim Crow laws, vigilantes and various means of disfranchisement became the normal way of life in the South. It was believed that white people were superior to black people and when they moved up in politics or socially they were harassed and threatened.
It undermined the new government and basically made it illegal. Although it was made political tensions rise and lead to war, it was bad for African Americans too. Instead of being just free states here was a mix of slave and free states. This caused multiple problems. In the time period this happened, it didn't seem like the biggest deal since slavery was so apparent.
This didn’t change because most freedmen still had no way of making money for themselves, so they were not apart of the American economy. It also showed that even though slavery had been abolished, African Americans would still have a long and rough journey before being treated as equals.
Free Blacks in the North were free to be American citizens, however, not free to be members of society. The New England, Mid-Atlantic, as well as some of the Midwest states were the first of the states to abolish slavery shown in Leon F. Litwack’s “The Abolition of Slavery 1777-1865” map. Litwack’s map shows when each state abolished slavery which displays that the Northern states were among the first to do so. Once abolition started in the North, those that were slaves,
Subsequent to development the Northwest Ordinance owning and selling slaves became illegal and therefore free slaves gained the ability to control their own labor and property(Doc B ). They are consequently free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way that they pleases as long as it’s within the perimeter of the law(Doc B ). The ability of blacks to obtain paid jobs, even though it wasn’t probable for them to obtain well paid jobs due to racism, indicates that they were then able to build upon their wealth, just like any free white man in the North(Doc B ). African Americans and their descendants were also permitted to gather freely without the presence of a white overseer who would restrict their ability to speak freely(Doc D ). Within a church of their own, blacks were able to congregate to not only pray but also to fight for their social rights, receive an education, shelter fugitive slaves, get married, and be buried(Doc D ).
These readings indicate that there were many limits of freedom in the United States for many people. Slaves were treated like property and at the mercy of their master. Some slaves lived on a plantation and in the excerpt from Rules of Highland Plantation, blacks were not allowed to leave the plantation, sell anything without permission and were responsible to be on call without questioning its timing. These actions benefited the master because as long as they kept their slave at their beck and call at all times of the day and their slave could not leave the property, then their slave could not leave and live on their own. During Andrew Jackson’s presidency, Jackson and his supporters restricted Indians’ rights and tried to seize their lands.
Therefore, freeing the slaves was not important. All men aren’t created equally as shown in these times. The belief that slavery was wrong, was not strong enough for the the Constitution to overcome. Mr. Freehling said, “The only way Africans could be free was if they were sent back to Africa”.
Throughout the northern states,11 of the 16 did not allow black males to vote and 15 of the 16 did not permit black males the right of jury duty(Doc A). This showed that black males were denied basic rights which prevented them to experience political freedom. Charles Mackey says,” He shall be free to live, and to
So when ships arrived in 1619 with African Americans the problem was solved, slaves seemed like a simple solution. Even though the Declaration of Independence states, “all men are created equal” a large group of people was ignored in this statement. While white Americans were free African American
The debate is still present: How restricted were blacks in the North, regarding their social, political, and economic freedoms? Actually, free blacks did not have a significant amount of freedom in that time period, especially concerning the listed areas, as they were all severely limited. To begin, African Americans were subject to the most minimal social freedom possible. Segregation was a major issue. Blacks and whites were divided in places like concerts, theaters, and restaurants, as many whites did not fancy associating with the blacks.
During this time period, blacks had many different statuses. Some were slaves forever, some were like indentured servants. They were allowed to actually own property, get married and after they served their time they were freed. Slaves were at the bottom of the social order but the individuals above them were not much better. The white people that were poor did not have as many hardships because they always thought at least they were not slaves, even though they were towards the bottom of the social structure.
That was just one of the guides blacks had to follow. Another was “Blacks were not allowed to show public affection toward one another in public, especially kissing, because it offended whites”. Blacks were basically treated as lesser humans and sometime treated like dogs. If blacks did not follow these laws to the exact they were severely punished and usually always did not have a fair trial.
More job opportunities began to open up therefore, there was an increased need for skilled workers. Companies thought it was a great idea to hire African Americans who would be more than willing to work, grant them a smaller pay and have their business continue to thrive in the prosperous decade. The white leaders of the industry often took advantage of policies to ensure that African Americans would be confined to the least desirable jobs with the lowest wages (Phillips 33). Within the jobs, workers would also be faced with discrimination. The African Americans would receive death threats in their place of work almost daily and were made to feel as if they were only there to benefit the economy (Phillips 39) For many years in American History, African Americans only received training to be skilled workers, as it didn 't seem necessary for them to receive any further education (Blanton 1).