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The Struggle for Freedom

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The first Africans arrived in the south part of the America in 1619. Contrary to general belief, they were not slaves when they came. The need of human power was the reason that made them slaves. As the large tobacco and rice plantations expanded, the number of slave African American slaves increased. With the new technology, slavery gained more importance. Plantation owners used slaves as cotton pickers and they adopted the idea that �the more slaves they have, the more profit they gain.’ Because of this idea, the slave population reached nearly 4 million by 1860. Slaves were required to make brutal long hours in poor living conditions. Their aim was to have their freedom and then live in better conditions. In their struggle to gain their freedom, African Americans achieved their legal rights; however, inequality can be still seen in American society today.

In American Civilization, Oakland describes the attempt of American governments to limit slavery. The first of these attempts (in 1808) outlawed the importation of new slaves. Sadly however, the slave trade carried on illegally. Before the Civil War, a lot of compromises about the States’ choice of remaining free or slave-holding States were made; but all of them failed and the Civil War began. During the war, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which made the slaves in Confederate States of America free, and by adding the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, slavery ended and black men gained the right to vote (Mauk & Oakland, pp. 88).

Southerners did not accept the Emancipation Proclamation Act because it was contrary to their interests. If blacks were equal, the Southern plantation owners could not exploit them. They did not want blacks to gain social, economic and political rights. Jim Crow laws were one of the examples of southerners’ reaction. Those laws required racial segregation in schools and most public places, including in trains and buses. The Court made a hollow

phrase “separate but equal” approving discrimination even in the face of evidence of profound inequalities in practice (Bright, pp. 15-23).

In the North, the black population increased after the Jim Crow laws were issued. In the book American Civilization the term “de jure segregation” which means separation of races by law, is used as a rule of southerners. However, in the North, “de

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