African Americans in the Civil War

Topics: American Civil War, Confederate States of America, Emancipation Proclamation Pages: 5 (1962 words) Published: April 22, 2013
Roman Robinson
Kristen Anderson
HIST 3060
February 25, 13

African Americans and the Civil War
The role African Americans played in the outcome, and the road to the outcome of the Civil War was immense. The fact that the south had slaves and the north did not played an enormous role in the issues. The north wanted to abolish slavery, and the south did not and after the war started this became one of the main reasons for the Civil War. Since most African Americans could not read or write, this made them an easy target, for slavery, against the dominant white man. Once the slaves got to America they started to realize how much trouble they were actually in. The north and the south had a problem brewing, and that was due to the slave uprisings and the run a ways. African Americans played an enormous role in the outcome of the Civil War because of the part they took in it.

The civil war, which took place from 1861 to the 1920s, the African American community made tremendous strides toward them becoming apart of America and equals in America. Since they had been controlled by the power of the whites for so long, their independence was extremely unfamiliar to them, with their new emancipation. Since they were so uncertain, they debated about the most effect way to go about actually receiving the rights they deserved. They did not just want to be inferior Negros. Some African Americans thought the actual approach would be to go along with the submissive status the whites held them to, so they could earn their respect until fairness pervaded. Others were more wishful with their thinking and thought the military would make whites surrender and give blacks their basic rights. Those who were still they are thought that no progress would ever come. These blacks decided that it was essential to escape the shackles and cruel attitudes toward blacks. The civil war initially began to save the Union.

At the start of the war slave masters were terribly scared that the slaves would run to join the Union and help the war efforts. To subsidize the problem, most owner enforced harsh restrictions on their slaves. Some owners even moved their whole plantations inland to avoid any contact with the outside northerners. This did not stop the slaves one bit though, this just caused more slave to flee to the north. The slaves that did decide to stay just demanded more freedom from their masters. Some would say the ones that stayed even gained more power; this forced their masters to give them offerings in exchange for work. The issues of emancipation and military service were intertwined from almost the beginning of the war. News from Fort Sumter made African Americans rush to enlist in military units. They were all turned away since there was a law dating from 1792 that kept African Americans from joining the U.S. army. In Boston disappointed African Americans met and passed a resolution that requested the Government to modify its laws to permit them to enlist.

Then Lincoln’s Second Confiscation Act was passed. The act stated that, Confederates who did not surrender with in sixty days of the acts passage were to be punished by having their slaves freed. The Militia Act was also passed. This act stated African Americans were allowed to fight in the war. These two acts together thoroughly punished rebel slaveholders. The African Americans that enlisted both fought in the front lines and worked behind the scenes labor jobs. All these rights that the African Americans were receiving inspired them to return home and free their families and friends. Some of them even started living in the plantations that they used to be slaves of. They took them over and began their own cropping. Some of the other plantations had been left to older disabled white woman, when the men had left for the Confederate army. All of this led to the separation of slave labor in the south

After trying terribly hard to keep the issue of slavery out of the...

Cited: 1) Freeman, Elsie, Wynell Burroughs Schamel, and Jean West. "The Fight for Equal Rights: A Recruiting Poster for Black Soldiers in the Civil War." Social Education 56, 2 (February 1992): 118-120.
2) "Blacks in the Civil War.”. Colorado College. Web. 3 Mar 2013. <>.
3) United States. National Park Service. Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System Overview. 2013. Web. <>.
4) U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Binding Wounds Pushing Boundaries. 2010. Print.
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