Civil War And The Emancipation Proclamation: End For Slavery

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“I have no purpose, directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavey in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so” Abraham Lincoln (Openstacks 423). During the 1860’s salvery was a major issue, although many were disjoint on the topic many fought for slaves to be free. In 1861 the Civil War started there were many disasters, riots everywhere and people being divided by race and color and the fight for freedom. The 1860’s majorly focused on riots, slavery, and freedom.

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Not getting paid for the work you do, ugh that’s hard work spent and time of your day taken up when you could spend time with friends or family. If you aren’t getting paid for the work you do would you just let it happen? Hell no, what do you do, you get others who are willing to stand up and take action. “ In early 1860, a mass meeting of the newly formed Mechanics Association demanded higher wages”(Zinn 231). They knew they were not getting paid enough for the amount of work they do. They took action. What if it doesn’t work? If the companies aren’t willing to higher employees wages what is there to do. Of course we strike. If workers are not working then the companies won’t make money then they’ll have to listen to our demands.

During Ellisons book there was a riot, an old couple was being evicted, but before it had started the ones that were watching were just bystanders. Once someone stepped up and took action everyone joined in. After speeches were made the bystanders began to get angry and when people get angry they usually begin to fight back. “ There was a rush against me and I fell, hearing a single explosion, backwards into a whirl of milling legs, overshoes, the trampled snow cold in my hands”(Ellison 280). When you have a group of angry men and women a little situation can get out of hand, things escalate rapidly and people get hurt.

These riots made there way throughout surrounding cities and states. I think you can guess what happened next. “In a week, strikes had begun in all the shoes towns of New England, with Mechanics Associations in twenty-five towns twenty thousand shoe worker on strike”(Zinn 231). Because a few workers took action many followed as word spread. If not for those first ones to speak up they most likely wouldn’t have got higher wages. On top of fighting for higher wages there was salvery, slaves worked and worked until they died or were killed.

Slaves were typically owned by rich, white, property owning men. They wouldn’t get paid and were treated like animals. “His recognition of slavery in the South did nothing to modify slaveholders, however, because Lincoln also pleged to keep slavery from expanding into the new western territories”(Openstax 423). In the north slavery had already been abolished, while in the south slavery was still happening. Slave owners didn’t want to give up slaves because it was a matter of money.

“ In the 1860’s it was a million tons of cotton. In the same period, 500,000 slaves grew to 4 million” (Zinn 171). The slaves worked in a field or as maids but as I mentioned before, they didn’t get paid, they did work picking cotton, building, or cleaning. The owners would make profit through the slaves work. The more slaves they bought the bigger revenue and the richer the property owner became.

When becoming a slave most of them get new names. They were no longer their own person, but someone who didn’t exist. “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me”(Ellison 3). As a slave they have no rights nor were they seen as humaine, their feelings didn’t count. They just are…they were embarrassed, degraded, and abused. “ We mean to do right by you, but you’ve got to know your place at all times… I wanted to leave but I also wanted to speak and I was afraid they’d snatched me down” (Ellison 31). Slaves couldn’t speak their minds. In my view they were trapped within themselves. I think this because they couldn’t express themselves if they did they would get hit.

” I myself and three or four others, have received two hundred lashes in the day, and had our feet in fretters”(Zinn 172). Slaves had to hide who they were, who they wanted to be just for the sake of their survival. If I was a slave I can tell you right now I would be the first one to die, not because of disease or any of that good stuff i’d die because I talk back and don’t know when to shut up. Freedom eventually came, with that freedom came many more problems.

“ Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting, and self-stopping, self-warning and self-justifying” (Ellison 142). When you have power, you become more aware of how deeply corrupt the world really is. The perks are getting to do almost anything you want without consequences. Why? Because of the money. For example parents disciplining their kids. I know when I was asked “Que estas haciendo?” (What are you doing?) from my grandma I had to detect how she said it so I could tell if I should run or not. Because they were in charge they had that power to inflict fear. They were in charge and everyone knew it.

In 1863 there was a major turning point, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation stated that “ all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free”(Openstax 437). Slaves are now free! But are slave owners willing to let this happen. Nope. “ Confedarate leaders rage against the proclaimation, reinforcing their commitmint to fight and maintain slavery”(Openstax 436). Letting slaves go means it’s going to affect the economy. It’s also going to affect the south’s revenue.

“The Emancipation Proclamation, however, led to the enrollment of African American men as Union soldiers”(Openstax 441). While being Union soldiers, African Americans were not serving on the battlefield, for fear they may use the weapons against other soldiers. They were “limited to hauling supplies, serving as cooks, digging trenches, and doing other types of labor, rather than serving on the battlefield”(Openstax 441). They are free but they were restricted and not trusted due to them having been slaves. The only part that changed was the fact that they were not owned.

After this many tried to start a new life but this wasn’t easy because of the segregation. “ I heared myself called “nigger” and “darky” and I had to say “ Yes, sir” to every whit man, whether he had my respect or not” ( Zinn 447). Although they were “free” it didn’t change anything. Going around having to be careful of your every move it’s not a life. Knowing at any moment literally anything and everything could be taken from you is scary, knowing you can only do so much to protect your family and knowing it’s not enough could destroy anyone with worry or fear.

Furthermore, the fight for freedom, the harsh times of slavery, and the riots for better conditions, helped shape us into the world we are in now. Today the working conditions are better and slavery has been abolished in the south, although we still have riots they are not as bad as before. Without all these conflicts we wouldn’t have progressed as much as we have, I mean of course there are still others with strong opinions about other races. The majority not having a bias opinion and only worrying about making a living and taking care of their families. In the 1860’s the United States went throught many conflict the major ones being many riots, slavery, and the fight for freedom. Guess what, we made it through some of the toughest times. In addition, I feel like we only got stronger, some may say we didn’t but I know we are becoming more and more open minded and more comfortable speaking up and making our voices heard. 

07 July 2022

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