Were Blacks Free During Reconstruction?

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Drew Beyersdorf 6th U.S. History
12/7/12

Were Blacks Free During Reconstruction?

Reconstruction was the South's transformation following the Civil War. Reconstruction attempted to solve political, social, and economic problems between the South and the North. This time period was important to study because it showed America's struggle to become reunited. To fully understand the question of whether Blacks were free during Reconstruction, “free” must be defined. To be free, within this historical time period, meant to be able to act under their own free will, independent of ownership. The first reason why Blacks were free was because of political reasons. Blacks were free politically because on a documentation they belonged to no one, and they were allowed to do things full fledged citizens were allowed to do. Evidence to support this argument is clearly seen in Document D, “ During reconstruction, thousands of African- Americans were elected to local and state governments throughout the Southern States. In addition , 17 African Americans were elected to the United States Congress from Southern States between 1870 and 1877.By examining this evidence, it is clear that African Americans were free because not only were they allowed to run for office, but there were enough Blacks voting to override the standard white politicians who normally hold office. This shows the Blacks clearly contributing to the democratic process.When looking at other sources, it becomes even more clear that Blacks were free on paper as well as being full fledged citizens. Evidence from Document A clearly collaborates this argument. In this document, it is argued that slavery or involuntary servitude shouldn't exist. It states everyone born in the United States would be citizens, and a citizen can't be deprived of their rights to life, liberty and prosperity regardless to race, color or prior servitude. This evidence further strengthens the argument because an Amendment is on the...
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