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African Americans During Reconstruction Dbq

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Reconstruction(1865-1877) was the time period in which the US rebuilt after the Civil War. During this time, the question the rights of freed slaves in the United States were highly debated. Freedom, in my terms, is the privilege of doing as you please without restriction as long as it stays within the law. However, in this sense, black Americans during the Reconstruction period were not truly free despite Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. While legally free, black Americans were still viewed through the lens of racism and deeply-rooted social biases/stigmas that prevented them from exercising their legal rights as citizens of the United States. For example, black Americans were unable to wholly participate in the government as a…show more content…
In a like manner, the spirit of slavery still existed in southern states. In Henry Adams’ statement to the Senate, concerning his first few days of freedom (Doc C), he emphasizes his slave-like treatment with a reference to his travels to Shreveport where he was beaten for saying that he belonged to no one. Likewise, Black Codes (Doc B) passed in Southern states restricted the actions of black Americans within a town or state. Although these would eventually be overturned by the 14th Amendment in 1868 (Doc A), it further demonstrates the lack of freedom that free slaves had during Reconstruction. Conversely, black Americans were granted all the rights of a white citizen. The 14th and 15th amendment to the United States Constitution(Doc A) states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States… are citizens of the United States… no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens...the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged…” This meant that black Americans now had freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, and freedom to
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