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African Americans In The Post Essay

1485 words - 6 pages


Jefferson Davis stated in the pre-Civil War years to a Northern audience, “You say you are opposed to the expansion of slavery... Is the slave to be benefited by it? Not at all. It is not humanity that influences you in the position which you now occupy before the country,'; (Davis, The Irrepressible Conflict, 447). The Northerners had not freed the slaves for moral issues; the white majority did not have anything but its own economic prosperity on its mind. The African Americans gained their emancipation and new rights through the battling Northern and Southern factions of the United States, not because a majority of the country felt that slavery possessed a ‘moral urgency’. As the years passed and the whites began to reconcile, their economic goals rose to the forefront of their policy, while racism spread throughout the country and deepened in the South. Even with all of the good intentions and ideals expressed in the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, blacks watched as their freedom disintegrated through the late 19th Century as a result of the Supreme Court decisions that limited the implications of the new amendments.

     After the passage of these amendments, two of the three branches of government disconnected themselves with the issue of black civil rights. Following Grant’s unenthusiastic approach to protecting blacks in the South, the executive branch gradually made its position on the issue clear in 1876. (Zinn, 199) When Hayes beat Tilden in the presidential election by promising to end the Reconstruction in the South, it was evident that the White House would no longer support any calls for the protection of blacks. The compromise of 1877 brought Hayes to office, but “doomed the black man to a second class citizenship that was to be his lot for nearly a century afterward,'; (Davis, 160). The Radical Republican’s in Congress, who were responsible for freeing the blacks, were also responsible for letting their voices become silenced. This occurred as the other, more industrial, interests of the broad based party dominated their platform; leaving the blacks to face the wrath of the Southerners. A final blow to the hopes for national protection of African American civil rights was dealt with The Force Bill of 1890. In this bill, the Senate objected to the idea of Congress protecting African- American voters in the South through federal supervision of state elections. (McDuffie, 117) It was sign that Congress, and its northern constituents, had finally lost interest in the cause. As the opportunity for economic advancement increased after the Civil War, the North felt as though it had done its part and both the President and Congress hastily turned their backs on the new, colored American Citizens.

     With the protection and support of Northerners lost, the blacks in the South were held hostage by white supremacists....

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