History 1312 Fall 2011
Upon reading the Declaration of Independence, we see a key phrase that Thomas Jefferson uses to help exemplify his views as to what he envisioned our new nation would become. A nation that would recognize that “all men are created equal”. Unfortunately, what was not relayed in that phrase was that only a particular type of man was to reap the distinction as being an equal. Apparently, this did not include minorities, women, Native Americans, or slaves. These individuals would endure a long history of oppression and discrimination by a country founded on equality and brotherhood. Since the end of the Civil War women and several large minorities (Blacks, Hispanics, Native American, Chinese) have fought and succeeded in gaining equal rights under the law but still to this day have not achieved unquestionable equality in the eyes of all men. Following the Civil War, the population of black ex-slaves freed by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation were still concentrated within the southern states of the U.S. Although these blacks were considered free, they were not equal, as they had no access to education, no voting rights, and were unable to have proper representation under the law. Most were uneducated and lacked any real technical skills destined to life of back breaking and poorly paid fieldwork. In addition to these disadvantages, a new set of laws with roots in South Africa’s system of apartheid come to practice. These became know as the Jim Crow laws. Under Jim Crow, strict segregation based on heritage or color of skin was set in place. These laws called for...
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