When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, all slaves living in states that had left the Union gained the right to freedom. This document represented a monumental step in a long and bitter struggle in the United States to abolish slavery and grant equal rights to all people.
By the 1800s, slavery had become an integral feature of economic life in the southern states, particularly in the planting and harvesting of plantation crops. While the abolitionist movement had gained strength in the north and won its fight to end slavery in the northern and some western states, southern constituents staunchly defended their right to use slave labor and ultimately wound up forming their own Confederate States of America. As the new president at the beginning of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln faced the formidable task of keeping the country united and making a decision about ending slavery.
This historical narrative provides an instructive account of the history of slavery in the United States and why it proved so difficult to abolish this institution of forced servitude. Readers will gain a clear idea of the economic rationale behind the outbreak of the Civil War as well as the political forces behind President Lincoln’s careful steps toward the end of slavery in the United States. In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson failed to persuade Congress to pass a civil rights bill with a fair housing provision. The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., generated the support needed to pass the bill two years later. The 1968 Fair Housing Act banned discrimination in the sale and rental of 80 percent of housing. It also contained anti-riot provisions and protected persons exercising specific rights--such as attending school or serving on a jury—as well as civil rights workers urging others to exercise these rights. It included the Indian Bill of Rights to extend constitutional protections to Native Americans not covered by the...
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