Overcoming Slavery

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Matt Zenker
Mid-Term Exam Topic 1
Stephen Smith
27 February, 2011
Overcoming Slavery
January 1st, 1863, during the third year of the civil war, president Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which stated that “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free”. This document, however, had many limitations. It did not apply to the Border States, only the states that had seceded from the union. Although the Emancipation Proclamation failed to end slavery, it succeeded in giving hope to many slaves, and it boosted the moral of the black soldiers fighting for the union. After the civil war, a period of reconstruction occurred, where the issue of the readmittance of the confederate states back into the union was focused on. After Lincoln was assassinated, President Andrew Johnson furthered his efforts. The Fourteenth Amendment, defined national citizenship so as to include blacks, passed Congress in June 1866 and was ratified, despite rejection by most Southern states. Upon being readmitted to the union each state had to accept the fourteenth amendment, which guaranteed civil rights for the freedmen. The emancipation and reconstruction were both very beneficial events that progressed toward the abolition of slavery. After many years and tireless efforts, these two events finally led to the thirteenth amendment. The thirteenth amendment which was officially put into motion on December 18th, 1865 by William H. Seward, states that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Although with slavery officially abolished, the war ended, and reconstruction well on its way, life for African Americans after the thirteenth amendment was not easy. The...
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