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African History Essay

By skyef123 Apr 13, 2013 4089 Words
Thesis Statement
During the 19th century, the abolition of slavery in the Northern and Southern United States had established blacks in the army leading to new military movements including the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth, Sixth Color Infantry and the clash in Gettysburg. Black Americans memorialized President Abraham Lincoln as their savior, creating a legend that remained unblemished for more than a century and his death would lead to the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ending slavery everywhere in the United States and its territories. Introduction

The 19th century showed the abolition of slavery in the Northern and Southern United States had established blacks in the army leading to new military movements including the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth, Sixth Color Infantry and the clash in Gettysburg. There are four primary sources used to provide the most accurate material pertaining to slavery, including works by: Meunomennie L. Maimi, Frederick Douglass, Susie King Taylor and Felix Haywood. Secondary sources are also used to provide a generalization of slavery during the 19th century United States, these include: Isaac Newtown Arnold’s The History of Abraham Lincoln, and the Overthrow of Slavery, Charles Godfrey Leland’s Abraham Lincoln and the Abolition of Slavery in the United States, Lois E. Horton’s Slavery and the Making of America, Robert W. Coakley’s The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders, 1789-1878 and William E. Nelson’s The Fourteenth Amendment: from political principle to judicial doctrine. The Massachusetts Fifty-fourth was led by white colonel, Robert Gould Shaw and received just 2 months training before heading south in July 1963 to launch a night attack on Fort Wagner in the Charleston harbor. Black recruits often earned less than half the pay of white soldiers and black women in the South were considered useless in the war effort, so some were chosen for heavy labor in the fields, nursing and livestock. The most significant battle of the war was the three-day clash at Gettysburg in July 1863, when northern troops led by General George Meade shot down more than half of the Confederate troops sent into the battle. President Lincoln declared the victory was a major step forward in freedom and equality amongst men. After the victory of Gettysburg, many blacks were drafted and caused white riots, because they were convinced blacks would take their jobs when they were off fighting. In May 1864, union General William T. Sherman aimed to seek Lincoln’s reelection by launching his 8 month campaign from Tennessee through Georgia and union troops systematically destroyed everything in their path: bridges, barns, crops and homes all went up in flames. The Democrats called for an immediate end to the war, but there was still paranoia of the war, Republicans could not unite behind Lincoln. Across the South, Confederates surrendered as state governments, local economies, cities and farms were in complete shambles, but within days of the South’s defeat, Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth killed Abraham Lincoln in a Theater. Black Americans memorialized President Abraham Lincoln as their savior, creating a legend that remained unblemished for more than a century and his death would lead to the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ending slavery everywhere in the United States and its territories. Near the end of the war, the Freedmen’s Bureau's played a main role in providing emergency food, housing, and medical aid to refugees. The Bureau wanted to insure working opportunities for Blacks; however their target goal was to have both sides treat each other as employers and employees, not owners and property. In Tennessee in 1866, angry white Southerners formalized their hatred by starting the Ku Klux Klan, who were led by a former Confederate general and set out to rid black Americans from taking advantage of new opportunities. Frederick Douglass led the movement for northern black’s rights to vote and in 1866 the Republican Congress proposed the Fourteenth Amendment, eventually closing the Freedmen’s Bureau, which secured the right to vote in the North and South. When we are researching the black military movements, we must first understand the early stages of blacks led by Martin Delany after Emancipation Proclamation. Black Regiments and Recruits

Martin Delany was an African-American abolitionist and conceivably the first advocate of American black nationalism, who responded to the Emancipation Proclamation by proposing the “Corps D, Afrique,” a private black army to aid union forces. He became the first African American field officer in the United States Army during the Civil War and appointed John Andrew was to raise the first black regiment the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth, but many white northerners doubted black men would make adequate soldiers. After Emancipation Proclamation, black leaders buried their philosophical differences and chose to unite together to recruit black soldiers. Meunomennie L. Maimi discusses in The Meaning of the War how the African American soldiers viewed the Civil War as nothing less than a conflict between slavery and freedom. The Massachusetts Fifty-fourth received just 2 months training before heading south in July 1963 to launch a night attack on Fort Wagner in the Charleston harbor. They were led by white colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, who helped the Massachusetts Fifty-Forth gain wide recognition for their battlefield performance. Northern black soldiers took great pride in their regiments and began the Sixth Colored Infantry in 1863. There was a major increase in new black regiments during 1863; however many blacks were still in the army fighting for equal pay. Black recruits often earned less than half the pay of white soldiers and in the fall of 1863, the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth refused to accept any pay until it matched white soldiers. Frederick Douglass discusses the willingness to suffer for freedom in his works Men of Color, To Arms and the mentality of black regiments: Liberty won by white men would lose half its luster. “Who would be free themselves must strike the blow.” “Better even die free, than to live slaves.” This is the sentiment of every brave colored man amongst us. He argues the regiments would die for their rights rather than make a living as a slave and those who chose this path have contributed to Congress passing legislation equalizing pay in June 1864. Colored men were being issued equal wages, because of their labor skills; however unlike black men, women were not thought useful to Union army in the war effort. Some examples of black women who played an emergency roll in the war include: Clara Barton, nursing wounded soldiers in Baltimore and fugitive slave leader Harriet Tubman. The slave leader returned to the South as both nurse and spy and her information helped to secure a Union victory at the Combahee River. Black women were chosen for heavy labor in the fields, nursing and livestock. Susie King Taylor’s Life in Camp describes a 4 day period of a women enrolled as a company laundress in 1864:

My work now began, I gave assistance to try to alleviate their sufferings, I asked the doctor at the hospital what I could get them to eat…My services were given at all times for the comfort of these men.

She explains how insignificant the duties of black women were in the war and is also hinting there is a birth of a women’s rights movement, because women would progressively fight towards important jobs in the later wars. Victory at Gettysburg and Lincoln

In a three-day clash at Gettysburg in July 1863, northern troops led by General George Meade shot down more than half of the Confederate troops sent into the battle. The victory at Gettysburg was seen as a turning point, because European nations including Britain and France withdrew their support for the Confederacy. In 1863, President Lincoln declared the victory was “a new birth of freedom” in a nation that had been”conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”. Isaac Newtown Arnold’s The History of Abraham Lincoln, and the Overthrow of Slavery agrees with my thesis claiming the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth, Sixth Color Infantry and the clash in Gettysburg created new opportunities for blacks in the war:

The power of the slaveholding Confederacy grew weak under the blows inflicted at Gettysburg, at Arkansas Post, at Port Hudson, at Vicksburg and Chattanooga; and near the close of 1863, their Congress in its desperation, enacted a law declaring every man between the ages of eighteen and fifty-five to be in the military service for the war. Arnold explains how in the spring of 1863, Congress endorsed a draft law requiring 3 years of military service for every man between the ages of 18-55. However after the victory of Gettysburg, many blacks were drafted and caused white riots, because they were convinced blacks would take their jobs when they were off fighting. Many of the rioters were poor immigrants who showed their hatred against wealthier individuals who could avoid service. Poorly paid white factory workers saw their standard of living decline, and viewed black workers as the source for their troubles. During the early stages of 1864, black troops were under Union general Ulysses S. Grant’s command in Virginia when he confronted Confederate general Robert E. Lee. In May 1864, African American soldiers also accompanied Union general William T. Sherman as he began his march from Tennessee through Georgia to the sea and north into South Carolina. During this 8 month campaign, Union troops systematically destroyed everything in their path: bridges, railroads, barns, crops and homes were all depleted. The Democrats called for an immediate end to the war, but weary of war, Republicans could not unite behind Lincoln. Charles Godfrey Leland’s Abraham Lincoln and the Abolition of Slavery in the United States criticizes the Republican’s for intending to ruin the Lincoln party; because they were aware their candidate could not be elected and expands on the republican’s views on Lincoln’s re-election: It was, therefore distinctly understood that the question at stake in this election was, whether the war should be continued. The ultra-Abolition adherents of General Fremont were willing to see a pro-slavery President elected rather than Mr. Lincoln, so great was their hatred of him and Emancipation, and they therefore nominated their favorite, knowing that he could not be elected, but trusting to divide and ruin the Lincoln party. But this movement came to an inglorious end. He has a fair argument against the Republican’s and proves only Sherman’s victories in Georgia assured Lincoln’s reelection. However, soon after Lincoln’s victory Confederate supporter John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln, sending shock across the country. Within days of the South’s surrender, Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth killed Abraham Lincoln in a Theater. Martin Delany acts as a prime example of the African American pro-Republican and proclaimed Lincoln as “the humane, the benevolent, the philanthropic, the generous, the beloved, the able, the wise, great and good President of the United States.” Other black Americans also memorialized Lincoln as their savior, creating a legend that remained unblemished for more than a century. His assassination had a long-lasting impact upon the United States, and he was mourned around the country. As a result of his assassination, there were attacks in many cities against those who expressed support for Booth. In February 1865 the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ending slavery everywhere in the United States and its territories, was passed by Congress. By December 18, 1865, twenty-seven states had ratified the principle that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, shall exist within the United States.” A Texas slave named Felix Haywood recalls in The Death of Slavery the reactions by the slaves in his community after liberation, which included screams of Hallelujah! Union Forever! And I’ll Never Be A Slave! However the Thirteenth Amendment did not include the voting privileges and Delany encouraged blacks to organize for the right to vote. The Antebellum Age was a time of great transition because of the industrial revolution in America. It also was a time of growth in slavery in the American South. However, Lois E. Horton’s Slavery and the Making of America makes an interesting argument by claiming the white southerners only had to pledge their faith in the Thirteenth Amendment in order to regain their property:

The new president spent the early days of his administration granting amnesty to former Confederate military leaders and handing out pardons wholesale to Confederates. White southerners needed to simply to swear loyalty to the United States and agree to support the abolitionist provisions of the Thirteenth Amendment to have their property and general citizenship rights restored. Members of the southern aristocracy who had led the Confederacy in its war on the United States quickly applied for and received pardons. This new support for the Thirteenth Amendment was a phase in American history when America spread towards the west coast which among historians is generally referred to as "Westward Expansion". They believed only the vote could defend the freedom promised by the Thirteenth Amendment, however many Blacks were still in shambles; separated from their families. Black Codes and The Fourteenth Amendment

With slavery eliminated, thousands of pardoned black Americans sought lost family members and near the end of the war, the Freedmen’s Bureau was launched with a main role in providing emergency food, housing, and medical aid to refugees, though it also helped reunite families. Later, it focused its work on helping the freedmen adjust to their conditions of freedom but they were mainly focused on setting up work opportunities and supervising labour contracts. The federal government sent troops to inflict political order in the South, but the Freedmen’s Bureau was charged with repairing the regions social and economic order. It encouraged white planters to revive their farms, urged black workers to accept jobs, monitored contracts between landowners and workers. Their main goal was to have both treat each other as employers and employees, not owns and property. Robert W. Coakley’s The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders, 1789-1878 discusses the implementation of Black codes and how the separate laws for the black’s compared to whites:

In effect, the Johnson program promised white Southerners eventual self-government and ample time to digest the new political, social and economic realities. But it promised little to the freedmen, neither the right to vote, nor any redistribution of property, nor even any guarantee of equality before the law. Indeed several of the reconstituted state legislatures passed Black Codes that established different legal standards for the two races. He claims the efforts made by the Freedmen’s Bureau did not help the slaves, but rather make them more venerable for exploitation. Without the right to vote, blacks could not have a voice in politics and this issue would lead to their right to seek justice in the Maryland courts. Maryland’s cruel apprentice system was finally overturned by the Supreme Court in 1868 and in the process, the bureau established African Americans’ right to seek justice in the Maryland courts. The separate laws for black people was part of a larger southern legal pattern called Black Codes, but by 1869, many southern states had elected new officials and reorganized law enforcement to restrict black people’s movement, economic and social prospects, and access to legal alternatives. The Bureau pressured black freedmen to accept an owner-tenant relationship known as sharecropping. In such arrangements, a landlord provides 40 acres and supplies, but in return, the tenant gave the landlord a percentage, or share of the resulting crop; however by 1869, sharecropping was supported by Black Codes. Black adults who failed to enter into contracts or who broke them could be arrested and imprisoned. Prisoners in return were leased to farmers or commercial concerns, and the wages from their labor went to state treasury. Even while black southerners pursued self-improvement, they remained aware of white southerners, bitterness over the war, the demise of slavery, and the federal military presence in the south. In Tennessee in 1866, angry white Southerners combined their hatred by starting the Ku Klux Klan, which was an organization, led by a former Confederate general and set out to rid black Americans from taking advantage of new opportunities or equal rights. Thousands of so-called night riders systematically threatened, wounded, or killed to keep black people out of politics. However between 1867 and 1870, only southern black men were given the right to vote, but there was still an imbalance amongst north and south voting rights. Frederick Douglass led the movement for northern black’s rights to vote and carried his vision that “true equality comes from political power only.” which would lead to the Republican Congress’s proposal of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1866. In 1864, more than a hundred African Americans from eighteen states gathered in Syracuse, New York, to create the national equal rights league and insisted the war was about citizenship as well as slavery. To secure citizenship rights for black people, the Republican Congress in 1866 proposed the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens in the United States” protected citizen’s rights from violation by state governments. Confederate states ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, eventually closing the Freedmen’s Bureau, which secured the right to vote in the North and South. William E. Nelson’s The Fourteenth Amendment: from political principle to judicial doctrine analyzes the outcomes, reactions and racial opposition towards the Fourteenth Amendment: Much of the opposition to the Fourteenth Amendment, both Northern and Southern, was deeply racist in tone and character. Although virtually all Americans agreed that people who were equal in fact should stand equally before the law, many white racists claimed that black people were something less than the full equals of whites. He discusses the complete disregard for anti-slavery by southerners and believes the hatred is not inside politics, but rather whites who argue blacks were not created in God’s image. Across the South, state governments were in panic, the local economies broken, and cities and farms in shambles. Black and white families alike desperately needed food, shelter and medical care. Conclusion

During the 19th century, the abolition of slavery in the Northern and Southern United States had established blacks in the army leading to new military movements including the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth, Sixth Color Infantry and the clash in Gettysburg. Black Americans memorialized President Abraham Lincoln as their savior, creating a legend that remained unblemished for more than a century and his death would lead to the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ending slavery everywhere in the United States and its territories. Our four primary sources by: Meunomennie L. Maimi, Frederick Douglass, Susie King Taylor and Felix Haywood provide the most accurate material pertaining to slavery. The Secondary sources by Isaac Newtown Arnold, Charles Godfrey Leland, Lois E. Horton, Robert W. Coakley and William E. Nelson offer a generalization of slavery during the 19th century United States. Martin Delany became the first African American field officer in the United States Army during the Civil War and appointed John Andrew to raise the first black regiment the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth and the black’s refused to accept any pay until it matched white soldiers. The victory at Gettysburg was seen as a turning point in slavery, because European nations including Britain and France withdrew their support for the Confederacy. However after the victory of Gettysburg, many blacks were drafted and caused white riots, because they were convinced blacks would take their jobs when they were off fighting. African American soldiers also accompanied Union general William T. Sherman whose victories in Georgia assured Lincoln’s reelection, but his presidency was short lived after he was assassinated by Confederate supporter John Wilkes Booth. His assassination had a long-lasting impact upon the United States and In February 1865 established the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ending slavery everywhere in the United States and its territories. Many Blacks were still in shambles; separated from their families and near the end of the war, the Freedmen’s Bureau was launched with a main role in providing emergency food, housing, and medical aid to refugees. However, they were still without the right to vote, blacks could not have a voice in politics and this issue would lead to their right to seek justice in the Maryland courts. There was an immediate backlash towards new rights and freedoms for blacks and a former Confederate set out to rid black Americans from taking advantage of new opportunities or equal rights by starting the Ku Klux Klan in 1866. Frederick Douglass began the movement for northern black’s rights to vote, leading to the Republican Congress’s proposal of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1866, but Confederate states ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, eventually closing the Freedmen’s Bureau, which secured the right to vote in the North and South. The 19th century displayed how the abolition of slavery in the Northern and Southern United States had established new military movements including the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth, Sixth Color Infantry and the clash in Gettysburg, but most notably, President Abraham Lincoln’s death would lead to the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ending slavery everywhere in the United States and its territories.

Annotated Bibliography
E. Finkenbine, Ray. Sources of the African American Past: Second edition. New York: Pearson Education. 2004. Ray E. Finkenbine’s Sources of the African American Past is a major source used in the course African American History and provides primary sources that offer most accurate material pertaining to slavery.

N. Arnold, Isaac. The History of Abraham Lincoln, and the Overthrow of Slavery. Chicago: Clarke and Co., Publishers.1866. Isaac Newtown Arnold’s The History of Abraham Lincoln, and the Overthrow of Slavery agrees with my thesis claiming the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth, Sixth Color Infantry and the clash in Gettysburg created new opportunities for blacks in the war. His work is considered very credible, because this was published right after Lincoln’s assassination.

Godfrey Leland, Charles. Abraham Lincoln and the Abolition of Slavery in the United States. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 1885. Charles Godfrey Leland’s Abraham Lincoln and the Abolition of Slavery in the United States criticizes the Republican’s for intending to ruin the Lincoln party; because they were aware their candidate could not be elected and expands on the republican’s views on Lincoln’s re-election. E. Horton, Lois. Slavery and the Making of America. New York: Oxford University Press.2005. Lois E. Horton’s Slavery and the Making of America makes an interesting argument by claiming the white southerners only had to pledge their faith in the Thirteenth Amendment in order to regain their property. The material focused mainly on the debates over the Thirteenth Amendment. W. Coakley, Robert. The role The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders, 1789-1878. Washington , D.C. :Center of Military History. 1988. Robert W. Coakley’s The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders, 1789-1878 discusses the implementation of Black codes and how the separate laws for the black’s compared to whites, which very important to our studies, because these factors would lead to the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment. E. Nelson, William. The Fourteenth Amendment: from political principle to judicial doctrine. United States: Harvard College.1988. William E. Nelson’s The Fourteenth Amendment: from political principle to judicial doctrine analyzes the outcomes, reactions and racial opposition towards the Fourteenth Amendment. The material focuses primarily on the Fourteenth Amendment.

--------------------------------------------
[ 1 ]. E. Finkenbine, Ray. Sources of the African American Past: Second edition. New York: Pearson Education. 2004.75 [ 2 ]. E. Finkenbine, Ray. Sources of the African American Past: Second edition. New York: Pearson Education. 2004.79 [ 3 ]. N. Arnold, Isaac. The History of Abraham Lincoln, and the Overthrow of Slavery. Chicago: Clarke and Co., Publishers.1866.437 [ 4 ]. Godfrey Leland, Charles. Abraham Lincoln and the Abolition of Slavery in the United States. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 1885.199 [ 5 ]. E. Finkenbine, Ray. Sources of the African American Past: Second edition. New York: Pearson Education. 2004.82 [ 6 ]. E. Horton, Lois. Slavery and the Making of America. New York: Oxford University Press.2005.212 [ 7 ]. W. Coakley, Robert. The role The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders, 1789-1878. Washington , D.C. :Center of Military History. 1988. 271 [ 8 ]. E. Nelson, William. The Fourteenth Amendment: from political principle to judicial doctrine. United States: Harvard College.1988.96-97

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