The Significant Role of African Americans in the Civil War

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The Significant Role of African American in the Union Army Frederick Beasley Senior Seminar May 10, 2014 Much of the Civil War centered on African Americans. A large reason as to why the Civil War started was to free the slaves. Many blacks wanted to join the Civil War from the onset of the war. They have several reasons for wanting to join the war. First, they wanted to assist in freeing the slaves in southern states. Second, they wanted the opportunity to have equal rights in the United States. Third, they wanted to demonstrate their patriotism for the United States by fighting for their country. However, prejudice delayed African American from enlisting in the Union Army. Once allowed in the Civil War, African Americans actively supported the Union Army. It is rarely mentioned the part African Americans played in the Civil War. In order to participate in the war effort, African American soldiers were not always treated fairly. At times, they were devalued and underappreciated. However, African American played significant roles in the war effort in the Union Army during the Civil War. Few blacks lived in Free states. Those who lived the Free states were segregated. These African Americans were restricted in neighborhoods, they were unable to vote or ineligible to run for public office. Most men volunteered early in the war effort. They were not drafted. For the first three years of the war, Union soldiers were not in favor of allowing African American soldiers to fight. They were unwilling to fight beside black soldiers. In addition, most Northern whites did not see African Americans as citizens. Northerners questioned African American loyalty to the Union. In addition, many Union officials thought that African American soldiers would only be scared, unreliable and undisciplined. It was not thought that African American
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