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Reconstruction - the Civil War, During Reconstruction, and During the Civil Rights Movements

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Essay title: Reconstruction - the Civil War, During Reconstruction, and During the Civil Rights Movements


The American Revolution was a glorious war fought to free the

American colonies from the British rule. Although we won that war,

there were still many people who were not free from our rule. One

people in general were the black slaves. The black people had many

struggles to freedom, which helped shape, our American culture today.

Three different periods characterized their struggles: the slaves

Before the Civil War, during Reconstruction, and during the civil

Rights movements. These three eras mark a pivotal point in the movement

And advancement of the black race to social equality.

During the time before the Civil War, it was not easy for slaves to

organize and rebel against their slaveholders or whites in general.

There were numerous laws that specifically took away slaves rights as

men. Slaves also feared the whip and even death if they were to act out

against their owners. The Declaration of Independence did not apply to

many groups and the black race was one of those excluded groups. "We

hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,

that their Creator with certain unalienable Rights endows them,

Those among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of

Happiness. Thomas Jefferson, having slaves himself, recognized the fact

that he could not free the slaves himself in that document. It was

difficult enough for him to get the Declaration approved by all of the

colonies in itself. In fact the last man to sign the Declaration of

Independence did not do so until the year 1778. The slaves were kept in

ignorance of any knowledge, which might have led to their freedom. Laws

forbade reading and writing for slaves. They also forbade anyone to teach a slave to read. To keep the slaves obedient, slaveholders often made an example of a slave by beating him with the cow skin, or even killing him.

Most people in the north felt differently however. These people

were called the abolitionists, and they were dedicated to freeing the

slaves. The southern states, strongly disagreed with their views and

broke away from the Union to form the Confederate states. Their

division led to the Civil War, resulting in freedom for the slaves.

"And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order

that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts

of States are, and henceforward shall be, free; and that the Executive

Government of the United States, including the military and naval

authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said


The Emancipation Proclamation that Lincoln wrote was a large step

towards the equality of black men and women. It spurred the

Reconstruction era that was so vital to black rights movement. The

Reconstruction period brought new laws, giving black people the right to own land, and black men the right to vote. It was now amended in the

Constitution. While the whites still found ways around these laws

however, the black people were still better off than they once were.

Some states enforced a Black Code, which forbade a black man the right


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