Freedom Essay, Research Paper
After the Civil War, state legislatures enacted codes to define or limit the freedom of the slaves. These Black Codes, as they were called, were in essence an extension another revised form of slavery. U.S. legislation declared all slaves free, and then allowed the individual states to enact their own regulations to control or limit that freedom. Yes, they were now free, but the government s laws put limitations on that freedom. After slavery, the blacks continued to be treated as subservient to the white man.
Author Michael Johnson approaches the issue more on a level of racism. Although blacks could have land, it had to be certain land, away from the white population. They now were allowed to be paid for jobs, but those involved contracts. If those contracts were violated in any way, they not only would forfeit their wages, but were hunted down like animals with a reward on their head. Organizations like the KKK, who were seemingly beyond the law, persecuted the black man. Each city kept an accurate count of the blacks under their control and reported this number to their state governments. This was just another means of control. Were the slaves really in a much better position?
Author Anders Stephanson approached the subject as one of scientific explanation for the division in social classes. The white men were superior, and therefore the black man being of lower social class, should not be expected to have equal privileges. Physiologically, the skulls of black men were more closely related to that of earlier animal forms. Because the skulls were larger, the black man s blood was different from that of the white man, making him different from the white man. This theory then justified the division in races and established the black man as an inferior being. Scientifically, they were an animal being in a class of their own, and therefore could not be mixed with superior beings. These theories of inferior and superior classes contributed to the enactment of the laws and codes governing the freedom of the slaves.
Although different forces drove the approaches above, the end result was the same. After the Civil War, whose causes were fueled by the issues of slavery, the black man continued to be persecuted and mistreated. Whether under the mask of scientific theory, or presented directly as an issue of racism, the fact was that white men continued to enact laws to abuse the freedoms granted to all men under the amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Today, the black man continues to fight for equality. Although there has been extensive legislative success in this area, it is clear as you examine political offices, that the black man is not well represented in higher offices. The white man can no longer enact laws to suppress the black man, but the issues of racism still exist in today s society. Until society as a whole decides to stop tolerating racism, it will remain.