Describe the social and political impact of the precedents and antecedents of the Plessy case. How were the results of Plessy overcome, if at all?

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, American Civil War Pages: 10 (3105 words) Published: October 13, 2013
Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896), is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision, upholding the constitutionality of state laws, requiring racial segregation in private businesses, particularly railroads, under the doctrine of Separate but Equal. The research within this paper, seeks to examine the effects of Plessy vs. Ferguson, on modern American and African American thought and culture both then and now. Specifically, the paper will focus on the trauma associated with the act of alienating an entire race, and uses history as a guide to trace the psyche of Americans, both Whites and Blacks before and after Plessy vs. Ferguson spanning to present. Finally, I also intend on examining any underlying sentiments present in contemporary moral values, as a result of this case, of both the White and Black populations of America, as pertaining to their beliefs of their own group and extending to the views each group holds for the other. Before I begin this intense discussion, it is important to first establish the root of Plessy vs. Ferguson and the events that led up to its existence in the first place. Therefore to analyze its occurrence, the cruel phenomenon of slavery and its causes has to be first examined. Slavery has been described as an economic political and social institution, defined by laws and customs and the most absolute involuntary form of human servitude. Some characters of slavery are, the people are regarded as property, are forced to serve, often through violence, and they are subject to their owner's will. Arguable, the most famous and inhumane example of this kind of slavery was found in America, during the Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth century. During this time, America's southern states were dominated by slavery, and the vast majority of plantations were essentially run by black slaves, imported from Africa. Firstly, the institution of slavery is as old as civilization. It has existed in various forms throughout history and remarkably, continues to exist today somewhat, in the Twenty First century. For the sake of this paper however, we will only focus on the roots of slavery in Africa. According to most studies, the slave trade was founded in

the Fourteenth Hundreds by the Portuguese who sensing the need for more slaves, ventured to

use Africans. The historical common notion was that enslavement had most often been

involuntary. Sometimes people sold themselves into slavery as a means of survival, but usually

they were forced into it by other measures. Some of these measures included, capture in times of

war, kidnapping or slave raiding. Others included punishment for criminal conduct, payment for

debt and sale by their own parent, guardian or chieftain. Traditionally, the treatment slaves

received depended on various factors. The greater the difference between the slave and the

owner in terms of race, ethnicity, religion or culture, the worse the slave's condition and the

fewer the rights he or she had. For instance, in African societies where both slaves and owners

were black, slaves were usually allowed to take part in many aspects of social life. But in the

American South, where most owners were of White European lineage and the slaves were of

black African ancestry, the general attitude towards slaves was entirely contemptuous.

Slavery in the Western Hemisphere resulted from an abundance of good quality soil for large

plantations of high value cash crops such as tobacco, cotton, sugar, and coffee. The growth of

tobacco, cotton and sugar etc and the plantation economy created a tremendous need for labor in

the Northern and Southern English Americas as well as the Caribbean. Without the aid of

modern machinery, humans were necessary for the planting, cultivation, and harvesting of these

cash crops. Indentured servants and native Americans were initially employed to work on these...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Plessy v. Ferguson Essay
  • Plessy vs. Ferguson Essay
  • Essay about Plessy V Ferguson Analysis
  • Plessy vs Ferguson Essay
  • Plessy vs. Ferguson Research Paper
  • Plessy vs. Ferguson: A Controversial Case in United States' History Essay
  • Essay about Plessy vs. Ferguson
  • Homer Adolph Plessy V Ferguson Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free