In 1869, the fifteenth amendment guaranteed that Americans would not be denied the right to vote based on their race. The three amendments deeply magnified the civil rights of Americans (Roark, 431-433). The Emancipation Proclamation had an impact in American history. Although it limited the roles in freeing slaves, it had an influence on the African American community. The Proclamation has been controversial, but it provided slaves with a sense of independence and liberty, transforming the Civil War into a fight for equality.
Although slavery had been outlawed by the Thirteenth Amendment, it continued in many southern states. In an effort to get around laws passed by Congress, southern states created black codes, which were discriminatory state laws which aimed to keep white supremacy in place. While the codes granted certain freedoms to African Americans, their primary purpose was to fulfill an important economic need in the postwar South. To maintain agricultural production, the South had relied on slaves to work the land. Black codes were restrictive laws designed to limit the freedom of African Americans and ensure their ties to the land.
After the American Civil War, slavery was abolished, unleashing a vast amount of Blacks into American society. Following the Civil War was the Reconstruction Era which empowered Blacks. For example, the 14th and 15th amendment were passed which made blacks citizens with the same rights as any other slavery and gave blacks voting rights. Southern blacks begin taking control over the states as voting privilege allowed blacks to be voted into local government position and even a senator position in the U.S Congress. However, with the end of Reconstruction by the Compromise of 1877 which removed all federal troops in the south in exchange for Hayes withdrawal from the presidential election, Southern states made new constitutions to disenfranchised the blacks.
Its failure was firmly secured in 1873 when the Supreme Court began to undermine the Constitutional Amendments and the Civil Rights Act in the Slaughter-House Cases. Military and political force was used in an attempt to give slaves equal rights to the white man. However, the actions of the South had stopped that from happening. Slaves were free but they were trapped in plantation labor. They could vote but many could not.
The Fourteenth Amendment (Amendment XIV) The amendments were put into place to protect the rights and civil liberties of all American citizens from the federal government. However, prior to the fourteenth amendment, there was no certainty with the constitution. The constitution did not state in a clear enough way who was protected under it and exactly what rights you had as an American Citizen. The 14th amendment was in response to the just passed thirteenth amendment, which ended slavery in all of the southern states. This document drastically changed the perception of the citizens, showing that it protected the civil rights of whites and blacks.
Calhoun and Douglass both agree that freedom is a basic right, as stated in the constitution; unfortunately, a majority of blacks at this time are not able to acquire the basic right of freedom. Douglass is a prime example of how living as a slave means living without rights. Slave owners knew that the only way blacks could find out that they are not inferior to whites is if they read articles written by abolitionists and how the Constitution guaranteed American citizens basic rights. Denying slaves a basic education was one means that slave owners used in effort to control and to keep blacks enslaved. Whites were able to maintain their power by keeping their slaves as uneducated as possible.
All of there property would be issued back to them in order to start mending north and south relations (472). Another benefit of reconstruction was that black males were granted the right to vote. This benefit was offered so that the government could rationalize that the freedpeople could fend for them selves (489). Although groups of whites like the ku klux clan would physically prohibit them from placing there votes at least it was a step in the right direction. Black Codes was one of the horrible consequences of reconstruction.
African American’s were given emancipation and the right to vote, and in some southern states, African Americans were elected into official positions. For these reasons, racial discrimination and white supremacy groups arose, out of fear and hatred for the newfound freedom of black Americans. Political success was effective in theory, though the social ramifications catalysed a greater effect that has shaped contemporary America. Radical reconstruction was successful in some aspects for the aforementioned reasons, though as the contemporary historian can infer, this reconstruction wasn’t as successful. The lack of mention of equality has led to it being a continuous issue in contemporary
“Beginning in the late 1870s, Southern state lawmakers passed laws that required Whites and Blacks to attend separate schools and to sit in different areas on public transportation.” (“Jim Crow Laws” 1). People thought these laws were needed because “The Jim Crow system was undergirded by the following beliefs or rationalizations: whites were superior to blacks in all important ways, including but not limited to intelligence, morality, and civilized behavior; sexual relations between blacks and whites would produce a mongrel race which would destroy America;” (“
The “Black Codes” improved the lives of former slaves in the South in several ways; however, many of Mississippi’s Black Codes control the lives of African Americans extremely strictly. For example, in Section 1, African Americans are allowed to own land and may acquire personal property to the same extent of whites. Although the state gave former slaves civil rights, there were regulations to the laws. For instance, as the section continues, it states, “… the provisions of this section shall not allow any freedman, free negro, or mulatto to rent or lease any land except in cities or towns, in which places the local authorities shall control such matters.” This shows that the lives of African Americans were improving, however, at the same time, it was not improving were such laws in place.
When blacks in the North were freed, they were given the right to own property and pay taxes. However, according to the Voting and Jury Rights of Blacks in the North: 1860 chart, the were denied the right to serve on jury duty unless the black male was in Massachusetts after 1860 (Doc A). This example shows that even though slaves were free, the feeling of white superiority and power over blacks still remained. The whites felt that blacks could not represent the United States in court cases, so most states denied the right of jury duty to blacks. Another example of how free blacks in the North were not truly free is also shown in the Voting and Jury Rights of Blacks in the North: 1860 chart.
This deal could be considered a good thing for the southerners but many people were upset about having to pass the thirteenth amendment, which guaranteed certain freedoms for the African Americans in the south. To retaliate for this seven states passed the “black codes”. The black codes made it so that the African Americans had to work for very little money and ensured that they were landless and an extremely dependent labor force. Section 6 of the Mississippi Black Codes of 1866 are a perfect example of how controlling these codes were, the section states that when African Americans go to work for someone they must have a contract and if the contract isn’t upheld or if the laborer quits before the contract is up then they forfeit their wages for that year up to the time of quitting. Though the codes couldn’t directly block the thirteenth amendment, they could make parts of the amendment illegal, for example African Americans could marry each other but the black codes made it illegal for them to marry people of other races.
Ferguson or Brown v. Board of Education reached the Supreme Court, reconstruction after the Civil War ended and the ratified 14th and 15th Amendment, were needed to address the rights former slaves have. The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1870, “forbid the state and federal government from denying the right to vote based on race” (Cornell). The 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, “stated the right to vote couldn’t be denied based on color, race or past servitude” (Cornell). Even with the new Amendments, African Americans were treated different than other Americans. When Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) cases reached the Supreme Court, the rights of the African American population took a step back.
The impact of the Civil War changed the world almost immediately after. Slavery was abolished and every man and women no matter what color was treated equally. The african americans had to be set free and given equal rights. According to a New York times news article, “the Civil War adopted three new amendments the 13th which ended slavery, the 14th which made every one born in the U.S.A. citizens. the 15th amendment was also one of the three amendments that was adopted after the Civil War, which made made every one equal that way the african americans could work where ever the choose and drink from whatever they choose.” The Impact of the Civil War can still be seen today in 2016 evan though it was years ago.