From the African Americans ended up owing more

Topics: HistorySlavery


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Last updated: December 25, 2019

From the period from 1860 to the end of Reconstruction, many political and social changes occurred including the abolition movement, which called for the emancipation of slaves in the south. Constitutional changes between these years provided blacks with rights; however, the present social restrictions at the time proves that to a large extent, social development was limited despite the revolutionary constitutional developments.

Constitutional advancement with the passing of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, freed black slaves, approved them as citizens, and gave them the right to vote. If this new vision of the country had passed, the social class system would forever be changed due to the influx of blacks into the system. Nevertheless, the south, neglecting change, instituted newly formed systems such as poll taxes, literacy tests, and later the grandfather clause to prevent blacks from voting.

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Since many African Americans were illiterate in their servitude or could not pay the poll tax, they were unable to vote. Also, the horrifying actions of the KKK successfully disenfranchised certain communities of blacks in the south by preventing blacks from rising up the social ladder. This oppression shows that although changes were being made on a constitutional level, the social development that was implied did not work as blacks were still suppressed. Additionally, the exploitation of the sharecropping system allowed for the racial societal structure to remain in tact, further proving that the revolution did not amount to any social change. Prior to the war, many southerners supported slavery despite many of them not owning slaves due to the sense of superiority they had, and free labor. After their emancipation, instead of receiving proper reparations, African Americans had to rent a small plot of land to work themselves but had to give a portion of their crop to the landowner. The end result of this system  was usually that the African Americans ended up owing more to the landowners than they were able to pay, therefore being indebted. Through this sharecropping system, the gruesome labor of slavery was retained at the benefit of white landowners.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation and following amendments prevented slavery and encouraged change in society, the social developments during the time exploited sharecropping as a method of slave labor.  Although constitutional changes between 1860 and 1877 helped shape the developing country, the present social restrictions at the time proved that to a large extent, social development was limited and to a certain extent worsened. Due to the treatment of African Americans and women despite the constitutional rights given to them, this time period was to a large extent constitutional and to a much lesser extent involved social development.

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