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Condition of African-Americans in the Late Nineteenth Century

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Essay title: Condition of African-Americans in the Late Nineteenth Century

Examine the condition of African-Americans in the late nineteenth century and explain why the Thirteenth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Fifteenth Amendment, which were enacted to aid the new freedmen, actually did little.

In the late nineteenth century after the civil war the U.S. was over, there were about 4 million people that were once slaves that were now set free. The big question for President Lincoln and the presidents that followed was what to do with them? Even though the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments were passed to free and aid the freed slaves it actually did very little to help them at all because many other events that took place, which prevented them from working.

The white southern government passed restrictive black codes, which was mostly just revised sections of the slave codes and replaced the word slaves with freedmen. The codes made former slaves carry passes, observe curfews, and live in housing provided by landowners. There were certain jobs that blacks still could not get into. Labor contracts even bounded the freed people to plantations and laws would punish anyone who tried to lure workers away from the plantations to other employment opportunities.

Since most blacks lacked money to buy land many had to rent the land they worked. They had to rent land from white owners, which turned into sharecropping, where the black farmers kept some of their crop and gave the rest to the landowner for payment of the land. This did little for the blacks in fact in pushed them into debt because the payback from the crops was so low. During the sharecropping the Jim Crowe laws were passed, which it illegal for blacks to quite their sharecropping job until all their debts are paid. This kept black working in sharecropping as well as keeping them in debt.

The Slaughter-House decision by the Supreme Court limited the power of the Fourteenth Amendment. It declared that the Jim Crowe laws were state laws and that they could not over turn them because the federal government did not have power over state laws. It also declared that national citizenship and state citizenship were different. In the U.S. v. Cruikshank the court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not give the federal government power to act against the whites, who attacked a meeting of blacks and conspired deprive them of their rights, and they said that the duty of protecting equal rights for citizens was in the states hands. So the federal government could not do anything about one person violating another’s

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