Essay on The Mississippi black code of 1865
The Mississippi black code of 1865 was a law passed to regulate the black people in a government that was fully white and it was all president Andrew Johnson’s idea. This came as a shock to black people that had begun enjoying the privileges of president Abraham Lincoln. The law contained vagrancy laws all aimed at one thing, degrading the black person and limiting his freedom. The few rights that a black person had were; intermarriage was allowed among blacks, the law recognized those that had been cohabiting as legally married, they could be witnesses in court, they could be employed and own homes provided they had the right documentation. Many wrongs and injustices were; fines for illegal assembling with whites or among themselves in the name of equality or cohabiting with black women. Any civil person, meaning white, could carry back a black person to his employer if they had not completed a contract no matter the reason for the escape. Intermarriage with blacks by whites was a felony that could lead to prison or tax. The black person could not own any weapon even for self-defense, they were not allowed to riot or demonstrate or have liquor.
The society of the time was clearly one that considered black people as half human and went to considerable lengths to keep their freedom in check, even if that meant that they punished those of their kind if they in any way attempted to be of aid to the black person. This society also believed that they were justified to rule the blacks thus the reason for giving them rules that they did not have themselves. It was a society that thrived on injustice even when it was in front of their very eyes just how unjust they were. The black man was denied anything that could deliver him making him poorer and in a state where he would have to fight hard for change, that was too slow in coming.
Essay on The Mississippi black code of 1865
Slavery for the longest time in American history was a headache of the South. Few northerners knew about it until the war or until journalists took an interest, writing letters, public speeches and when abolitionists took it as a personal cause. The growing sectional divide between the North and the South was the differences in opinion about slavery with the North having abolitionists and the South having proslavery ideology. The divide was also because northerners felt that southerners would fully fill the US Senate because they had the advantage of numbers because of their numerous slaves, which saw the South become highly represented in Senate than the northerners who were fewer. The compromise of 1850 also really brought conflict between the North and the South. The conflict was that California wanted to enter the senate as a free state something that would upset the balance that existed between free and slave states. This was a crisis but was resolved by the creation of several amendments and it was abated. People like Abraham Lincoln truly believed in freeing the black people and treating them right while the others like his opponent were of the opinion that the blacks and other minor races would forever be inferior to them and we’re lesser beings. These two ideologies became the reason for the formation of two political parties. The Democrats who were for slavery and the Republicans who were anti-slavery. This led to the civil war that lasted for four years and was the deadliest in American history. The civil war was as a result of various states beginning with South Carolina and Texas basically slavery states began to secede and thus separate themselves from the union that was the United States of America. The South Carolina secession after Abraham Lincoln was voted as president happened because as a state that agreed with and depended on slavery, they did not agree with the president’s ideologies on slavery, because his government was of the idea that slaves be freed from bondage.
The North took it seriously that several states were seceding and in the quest to fight for the union, the civil war began. There was the Western front, which was based on the Mississippi, and the Eastern front that the northern army was aiming to capture. Orders were given to March to the Atlantic the aim was to capture the whole of the South by destroying property, burning fields, basically anything that would help the South to win the war.
The war came to an end and the South had to take oaths to be part of the union once more. Then came the reconstruction era between 1865-1877. This is a period where Americans had to put their house in order after a war that left them devastated. The question of slavery was now more on the table and could not be ignored. Black people had volunteered themselves to the army during the civil war and had been treated as equal to the white soldiers in pay and living conditions as portrayed by Fredrick Douglass on Black Soldiers. In his call to the black soldiers, he had promised them that somehow after the war, they would have the right to demand equal and fair treatment for the war they had fought for a country they fought for. It is during reconstruction that slaves were freed, but the freedom was not wholesome. They were still treated as second class citizens and there few freedoms were that they could now intermarry, they could have a wedding ceremony that would be officiated yet recorded separately from that of the whites. They had to sign a contract with a farmer each year and have documentation showing that they were gainfully employed. If they were found loitering or idling without the documents, they would be arrested by the white officials, charged in a court of law, and sentenced to imprisonment or they could have a white pay their legal fees and become a ‘slave’ again until they had fully repaid their debt. Reconstruction also saw that the slaves had w limited court hearing, they could own land, they could sign sharecropping contracts, and also the Mississippi black code establishment was supposed to be a small but relief all the same for slaves that had been freed.Essay on The Mississippi black code of 1865
Frustrations were bound to rise and the most notable one was the order by Andrew Johnson that slaves return lands assigned to them when Lincoln was still alive to their owners. Andrew may have been Lincoln’s running mate but he was a Democrat still and held dear slavery. This command was greeted with shock and disbelief and the embittered black people began to plead with the president for mercy, in the petition of the committee on behalf of freedmen to Andrew Johnson. The petition was not accepted and the land was repossessed despite the blacks even invoking God’s mercy and promising to work and pay for the land. This made the blacks poorer than they had been. The sharecropping contracts with time also became worse as fields started to perform poorly and the blacks could not get enough for themselves and their employers. The civil war however served as a teaching ground as seen in the letter of Marcus Spiegel to his wife, once a devout Democrat but who after experiencing the South vowed never again to speak in support of slavery. Other notable abolitionists were David Walker, a black man born free in the North who wrote on the evils of slavery and being treated as second class citizens and who urged the blacks to fight for their rights. Fredrick Douglass on the 4th of July may have been the worst guest to invite to speak as his speech fully condemned slavery in the eyes of God that Americans claimed to worship and mocked the liberty they were celebrating on that day as they were the ‘worst country in the world’ for being so inhumane. Abraham Lincoln depicted from his numerous debates was the first president who truly believed that blacks needed to be treated better even when in the beginning he was not fully convinced that they were a white man’s equals.