Convict Lease System Essay

2013 Words May 15th, 2013 9 Pages
It is commonly believed that after the onset of the Civil War, Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation was the key driver to freeing the slaves of the south. After the Civil War, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Constitutional amendments were passed which aided newly freed slaves in being equally treated under the law, or so the story goes. The fact of the matter is that even after the Emancipation Proclamation and after the amendments, slavery in the United States was still “legal” and not only that, but it took on a much different form. The institution of slavery changed from having the direct enslavement of blacks, to the United States legal and prison system enslaving blacks. Yet, the enslavement itself was changed as black convicts …show more content…
But telling by the outcome of the 13th amendment, it is hard to believe that.
Senator Wilson is correct to an extent when he argues that both slave and white labor are oppressed by the same system; both are oppressed in that they are being manipulated and played off one another by the elite of both the North and South. However, Senator Wilson ignores the fact that white labor was very much less oppressed than black slave labor. White laborers were seen as human being, deserving of dignity and respect, rather than treated worse than animals. White laborers were free to do as they pleased, not having to worry about ensuring that they consistently had papers on their person as to prove their freedom.
Instead of looking at the 13th amendment as freeing the slaves, we should examine it as a force that changed the competition between black slave labor and free white labor. Since the South’s economy was built around slave labor and the ability to have the slaves produce more than they were ‘worth,’ seeing as how slaves were viewed as not just general property but a long-term economic investment. Yet, due to the existence of slavery, white labor suffered as not only did they lose out on the income they were making when slavery was first introduced as well as the potential future income, but also white labor was unable to make

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