The Slave Trade was the establishment of unfree labor and the origins of white supremacy. Colonists originally tried to enslave Native Americans but it was unsuccessful so they had to find an alternative source. The Triangular Trade was the originating trade route used to receive and send resources across the globe including slaves. This trading system emersed different areas of the globe with various spices, animals, diseases, and slaves. Slaves were brought from Africa to America as indentured servants. Ships from Africa would carry indentured servants, contracted in American to work on plantations in order to earn their freedom. In most circumstances, the contracted servants did not come voluntary but were kidnapped.
Following the arrival of Africans, Americans would discriminate against them and not necessarily due to their skin color, but rather that the Africans were not Christians or English. Africans were often seen as property or real estate, something able to be sold. The three-fifths compromise outlined the process for states to count slaves as part of the population in order to determine representation and taxation for the federal government.
From the middle of the nineteenth century, the issue of slavery headed in a new direction. Slavery was viewed as something necessary for a profitable system of agriculture in the South. Many people in the North accepted slavery as part of the South, even though the North experienced the effects of not having slave labor. Abolitionists claimed slavery to be evil. Abolitionists were people who favored the removal of slavery in this time period. Around this time the republic had degenerated into a democracy and the idea of equality seemed more achievable. Abolitionists were active voices in society through delivering speeches, holding meetings, and writing newspaper columns. Following a debate amongst the abolitionists and apologists; someone who offers an argument in defense of something controversial, the division of free states and slave states grew.
Slavery began making its influence within the westward expansion. Slaveholders from Missouri began traveling across the Mississippi River to Kansas with their slaves, hoping to establish slavery within Kansas. Dred Scott was a slave in the state of Missouri before his master took him to the free state of Wisconsin. They returned to Missouri and later sued for his freedom, claiming that he had gained his freedom in Wisconsin which made him a free man in the state of Missouri. Justices disagreed and claimed Dred Scott to be a slave. As a man of color and former slave, Dred Scott had no right to sue for his freedom. This was bad news for blacks and other states who had treated African Americans as citizens.
In Kansas, abolitionist, John Brown believed slavery was so evil that he led a small group of other antislavery men and murdered pro-slavery in the middle of the night. From the success in Kansas, John Brown began plotting another attack in Virginia. So he and his men planned to seize weapons and launch a black liberation, but Browns plan fell apart. He and his men were seized by local Virginia troops. Brown was sentenced to death. The North felt bad for not stepping in and doing anything to further the cause of human liberty. The South felts Brown was rightfully convicted although they were alarmed by the North’s celebration of Browns bravery. People were not taking slavery for face value, those who opposed slavery were looking to end it in any way possible.
After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson was in the hot seat for the presidency. Johnson was a Southerner, but not one other Southerners liked necessarily. Johnson agreed to let former slaves and freedmen receive fair treatment. In response, Southerners began making new legislation, such as the Black Codes, which took freedmen a step back to slavery. The codes required African Americans to have jobs and if they did not have a job they could be thrown in jail. Slaves freedoms were once again limited. Republicans were upset with Black Codes and sought to remove Johnson from office.
The Radical Republicans wanted to secure the rights of freed slaves and so they did by constructing and approving three amendments. The Thirteenth Amendment, which banned slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment, which granted freedmen citizenship and the Fifteenth Amendment, which gave slaves the right to vote. These amendments were revolutionary for the lives of slaves. For the first time since the establishment of the slave trade, slaves were considered equal to whites. The Radicals continued writing more legislation that included the blacks, such as in education. The Radical Republicans wanted to assure that all people had an equal opportunity to receive education. Sometimes there was violence involved when trying to incorporate blacks into legislation. The Klu Klux Klan, hooded white democrats, would terrorize Republicans and blacks trying scare them away from the polls.
The reconstruction of American following the Civil War could not have ended any better for the African Americans. African Americans and Republicans both received freedom from the Klu Klux Klan after president Grants Klu Klux Klan Act. This act gave power to the president, to send troops against the Klu Klux Klan and suspend the act of bringing them before a judge. President Grant knew this legislation wouldnt hold because it wasnt just the Klu Klux Klan, but also all the Southerners who werent ready to accept freed slaves into their territory. So, the Compromise of 1877 was established and ended the time of Reconstruction and the Civil War period. Slaves were free and their equal rights existed on paper.
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