Christmas Essay

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1) What was the main concern of Republican Reconstruction Congressmen in terms of politics? The main goal of Republicans at this time was to give black men the right to vote. However, they did not grant suffrage to black men out of sympathy; rather, they did so in order to gain political clout in the South. 2) What was unique about the 14th Amendment and what does this say about the “new birth of freedom” coming out of the civil war? The 14th Amendment was unique, because for the first time, the Constitution explicitly contained the world “male” instead of speaking of “the people” or “citizens.” Saying that there was a new birth of freedom after the Civil War is a misleading statement. It is true that suffrage was given to the black man, thereby, giving African-American men more freedom. However, at the same time, women were further subjected to political tyranny, because they were now denied the right to vote by the existing state law as well as the new federal law (14th Amendment). 3) What was the somewhat dismissive reasoning provided by the abolitionists when denying women an inclusion in the 15th Amendment? The 15th Amendment stipulated that suffrage could not be denied on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Feminists wished to include that suffrage could not be denied on the basis of sex as well. However, Republicans would not change their plan to give the vote only to the black man. The abolitionists, who for a long time championed their platform as well as the women’s suffrage movement’s, refused to side with the feminists. They justified their rejection of the women’s suffrage movement by stating that African American male suffrage was more important than the right to vote for women. 4) Explain Fredrick Douglass’s “When women… because they are women…” speech. Fredrick Douglass, a prominent abolitionist, in his speech, explicitly states that the women’s suffrage movement was nowhere near as important as giving the black man the...
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