African-Americans and Civil Rights Essay

2724 WordsApr 18, 201311 Pages
Final Paper: African-Americans and Civil Rights The military victory of the Union Army in America’s Civil War did not dispose of political and social conflicts between the adversaries. The Confederacy was destroyed, and the South lay in ruins. White southerners were bitter and showed little inclination to change their way of life, even if they acknowledged the end of slavery. Northerners, meanwhile, where split among themselves as to how to get on with the nation’s business. The struggle over the South lasted from 1865 to the presidential election of 1876 and pitted White Southerners who were determined to redeem the old Confederacy by maintaining the racial and social status quo against “Radical Republicans”, a group that included abolitionists, Republican politicians, and Black freedmen who believed that the South could only be readmitted to the Union after a social and political reconstruction. After the abolishment of slavery there was a development of a unified labor system based on wage labor. The problem was that this equality and unification did not include African-Americans who had just been freed from slavery. During the process of America becoming a unified country, White southerners had a difficult time accepting Blacks as not only their equal but as human beings as opposed to property such as livestock. “The Southern planter class did not die out after the Civil War, but instead "restructured" itself into a system of tenant farming that bound most American blacks to the soil there until after 1910. They were constantly in debt, and they knew they could not just get up and walk away. This was quasi-slavery - they were still bound to the land. The law said that if a tenant farmer owed money, he couldn't leave” (As cited in Morgan, 1996). Leaders of the new state governments were particularly anxious to reassert control over their Black population.
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