1860 Dbq Analysis

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From 1860-1877, the United States had gone through many important events. For one, Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860. Lincoln’s election would end up sparking the bloodiest war in American history, the American Civil War. The war raged on from April 12, 1861 to May 9, 1865. After the war was over, Radical Republicans took control of Reconstruction until 1877 when it finally ended with the election of Rutherford B. Hayes. Through all of these events, there were many changes and continuities sparked from constitutional and social developments that were occurring. In particular, from 1860 to 1877, the constitutional and social developments the United States experienced had a large role in changing the relationship of governing power …show more content…
During the Civil War, slaves had very few rights. They could not vote, hold office, or get an education among other things. There where however calls from change from blacks. A black American citizen had written a petition to the Union convention of Tennessee that asked for right for blacks. (Document 3) This document’s audience was the legislators of the Union convention of Tennessee in order to convince them to being about equality to blacks. However, nothing will change until 1867. The Reconstruction the followed the Civil War would change the states of freedmen. A combination of social developments and constitutional developments spurred change as ex-slaves and freedmen acquired more rights. For one, The 13th Amendment forbade slavery, the 14th said that ex-slaves were to be considered citizens, and the 15th Amendment gave black males the right to vote. All of these constitutional changes gave freedmen more rights. For the first time, black citizens had the right to vote as shown in the picture from Harper’s Weekly titled “The First Vote.” (Document 6) This purpose of this document was to show how that United States was changing. It also shows blacks in a positive light as an important part of the US’s survival. The rights and privileges of freedmen also increased with the growing Radical Republican ideal of racial equality that was seen previously in abolitionists such as …show more content…
Despite all of the new laws and amendments that brought about more rights for blacks, the vast majority of whites, both Northerners and Southerners, still viewed blacks as inferior. They were seen as dumber the whites and unfit for positions of legislative power. Whites particularly in the South still viewed blacks as good for only manual labor. In fact, most blacks in the South after slavery was abolished still remained in the South in a semi-slave state through sharecropping. Sharecropping is a system of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land. While sharecropping was not exactly slavery in the fact that the landowner did not own the worker, the black workers were still tied down to the land they worked due to their debt to the storekeepers from when they bought tools. If the debt remained for too long, black workers would be subjected to peonage, which is forced labor in order to pay off a debt. Peonage was very similar to slavery in the fact that they both included forced labor. Another way that blacks faced social injustice was the common notion that blacks were too ignorant to be legislators. In fact, many twentieth century historians were quick to blame black legislators for the corruption that occurred in Republican governments set up in the south under

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