Ostracism in and of itself is a condition no human wants to experience but compounded with disrespect and abuse, it describes the condition of the African Americans prior to the Thirteenth, Fourteenth , and Fifteenth Amendments. The Thirteenth Amendment supposedly outlawed slavery; however, whites still found ways around the law in order to keep blacks below them. The Fourteenth Amendment granted blacks citizenship, but they were still denied basic rights. The Fifteenth Amendment granted blacks the right to vote; however, most blacks were incapable of voting due to specific obstacles. Jim Crow Laws were an extreme obstacle in the integration of African Americans.
Justice Joseph Bradely interpreted the enforcement provision of the amendment as strictly remedial; “congress has the power to remedy a discriminatory state law, but could not take affirmative steps to protect blacks from other forms of prejudice” (Urofsky 21). As a result of this decision, the federal government took no action to combat racism in the country until the second world war (Urofsky 22). Because resentment continued to increase within the black communities and because of the threat of a march on Washington, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order on June 25, 1941. This order directed African Americans to be accepted into job-training programs in defense plants. The order also stated that discrimination would not be excepted by employers holding defense contracts.
Due to the Fifteenth Amendment the Redeemers, who were southerners who wanted to prevent equality for slaves, had to sneak around to disfranchise blacks. The Redeemers developed voting rules for each state called “literacy tests,” even though they were impossible to pass and just created to get rid of African American voters. They also required a poll tax to be paid because they knew that most blacks would not have earned enough money to pay for voting. Proponents of the “New South” promoted the “Separate but Equal” motto and under this, segregation of blacks and whites became normal as long as each race had “equal” facilities (Literacy Test and Poll Tax). Even though blacks and whites
Reconstruction made the nation as a whole feel ‘reunited’, but it was viewed as a failure and waste immediately after its completion (Boyer, 471). It laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement by passing the 13, 14, and 15th amendments, even though they would not be implemented to protect minority rights for nearly a hundred years. Reconstruction also established a policy of treating African-Americans as second-class citizens. The nation was taught that it was alright to treat blacks as inferior people because the government would not even guarantee them the right to vote in state elections. However, Reconstruction did pave the way for share-cropping and the factory system, which would lead to an economic boom as American expanded.
The first and second sought to end slavery and guarantee equal rights. The third, the 15th amendment, granted suffrage regardless of color, race, or previous position of servitude.2 The 15th Amendment monumentally changed the structure of American politics as it was no longer the privileged whites who could vote. For some it was as though hell had arrived on earth, but for others, it was freedom singing. However, the song was short lived. While many political cartoons from the period show the freedom that ex-slaves have for voting because of the 15th Amendment, they often neglect to include the fact that many African Americans were coerced into voting a certain way or simply had their rights stripped from them.
A certain degree of racial equality for the blacks is what Reconstruction tried to achieve. The 14th and 15th amendments, two important amendments to the constitution, laid the basis for protection by the government of the political and civil rights of blacks in the United States. Throughout the 19th century, the amendments were misused by the Supreme Court to protect business corporates from state regulation. Those that framed these amendments strongly believed that they were providing a constitutional fortification for free blacks in America (Pink Monkey). In spite of these noble intentions, blacks were still second-class citizens and denied their basic rights.
South wanted slaves and they wanted to keep them but the north disagreed. The fact that everyone is created equally, that everyone should be treated as fair as the next, that there was indeed no significant race, everyone deserved freedom and the pursuit of happiness is what the north contemplated about. You may wonder or ask why didn’t the presidents that didn’t believe slavery was right end it so early. The reason is because slavery was a big thing back then, it brought a lot money into the South and it was also going to be a hard thing to fight. Some presidents thought that they didn’t have constitutional power or the right to abolish slavery.
It became a law on July 2, 1964. Unlike in 1964, the time leading up to the Civil Rights Act of 1866 was not spent with violent protests. It was enacted in an effort to override the black code which limited African Americans’ rights in the South. The two civil rights acts biggest difference was that many people have not heard of the first civil rights act. It was a big step in the right direction in theory, but it was a failure.
(20) Lincoln believed slavery was wrong, but it was also protected by the Constitution and contained it in the South. “Lincoln was also the first “sectional” president in that he owned his election in support of the Northern states.” (26) The federal government requires every new state to deny voting rights to blacks until the 1860s. Lincoln stated, “he was in favor of extending basic protections of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to freed blacks, but then contradicted himself by simultaneously opposing black citizenship.”
This bill required the majority of a state’s prewar voters to pledge loyalty to the Union and that blacks were seen as equal in the eyes of the law. These plans led to controversy. Some people felt that because the constitution never mentioned succession, the states never actually seceded the Union so they didn’t need to be formally readmitted. Others felt that the states from the South had given up their rights once they left the Union so they must be readmitted. Upon the close of the Civil War, Congress was not in session.