African Americans And The Civil War Essay

1188 Words Jul 26th, 2015 null Page
To African-Americans, both free and enslaved, the Civil War was not simply a war to determine if “a new nation…dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…[could] long endure.” The war was an outlet for centuries old frustrations and anger. The war nurtured great new hopes and old painful disappointments. It empowered many African-Americans to take a desperately desired modicum of control over their personal lives, the lives of their families, communities and race. In the face of their newfound control, African-Americans were reminded that their societal position had only been slightly elevated; they would continue face generations-old challenges. To African-Americans the war meant more than the right of states to establish and defend their sovereignty; the war would provide opportunities to redefine their place in American society.
As W.E.B Debuis wrote in 1935, in the minds of most Civil War era citizens the war was the only mechanism capable of transforming slaves from property into men. Many African-American men took full advantage of this mechanism. For those men the war meant an opportunity to fight against the institutions that had held their people in bondage for centuries. It was a chance to repay those who had murdered, raped, separated families, and inhumanly treated African-Americans. African-Americans believed, similarly to Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, the war was necessary to correct the sins of the nation. The war meant a righting of…

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