Slaves Essay: Example and Tips

The issue of slavery is very delicate and you need to be very careful when writing an essay on this topic. Although slavery was abolished many years ago, the memory of this terrible time still lives.

Tips for writing slaves essay

Writing an essay begins with thinking about the problem of slavery. If you choose the topic yourself, think about the type of essay that will be easier for you to write. Also consider what aspect of the problem of slavery you would like to touch, because this problem is multifaceted.

In the next step, we recommend to make a sketch of the main part. Highlight the main ideas, support them with evidence or illustrations. Select the brightest of them and include in the main text. And only after that proceed to the writing of the introduction and conclusion.

Regarding the sequence of writing an introduction and conclusion to an essay on slavery, do as you prefer. Most importantly, remember that these two parts of the essay are paired and should complement each other. When the essay text is written, go to text verification. The best and easiest option is to let someone read your work. This should be a literate person, whose opinion you trust.

Examples of topics for slaves essay

  1. History of slavery from beginning till the end
  2. Modern consequences of slavery
  3. Myths and truth about slavery
  4. Life in America through the eyes of slaves
  5. The abolition of slavery in the US: how was it?
  6. Why the abolition of slavery in the United States did not bring happiness? – example

Slaves essay example. Why the abolition of slavery in the United States did not bring happiness?

Racial segregation in the United States was prohibited by law only 100 years after the abolition of slavery. World history is full of myths that evolve around real events, and often interpret them in a completely different way than it actually was.

From the lessons of world history, schoolchildren can learn that the American Civil War of 1861-1865 broke out due to the problem of slavery, and President Abraham Lincoln was an ardent supporter of the abolition of slavery in the United States.

In reality, the causes of the conflict between the North and the South lay in the economic sphere. For example, the parties radically differently approached the issue of taxes on imported goods – the industrialized North advocated the imposition of high taxes, and the South sought freedom of trade with the rest of the world. In fact, the northerners pushed laws that were beneficial to them, and shifted the cost of industrialization onto the shoulders of the southerners, who were threatened with such a policy of ruin.

The new US president, Abraham Lincoln, elected in 1860, announced that all new states within the country would be free from slavery. Such a prospect promised a steady preponderance of the northerners in Congress and in power structures, which would enable them to pass any laws convenient for them without considering the opinion of the South.

This is what prompted the southerners to take active steps to protect their own interests.

Was Lincoln a slavery fighter?

The views of Abraham Lincoln, with which he went to the presidential election, were far from the views of the fighter against inequality – he opposed the provision of black voting rights, and also opposed interracial marriages, believing that “the superiority of the white race will always be obvious.” Lincoln was made to raise the question of the abolition of slavery in the southern states by the war unsuccessful for the North. The US president told reporters: “If I could save the union without freeing a single slave, I would do it.”

In 1862, Lincoln was convinced that he would have to go to extreme measures. On September 22, 1862, the first of the two decrees constituting the “Proclamation on the release of slaves” was issued. According to the decree, all slaves in any state that did not return to the United States before January 1, 1863, were declared free.

The second decree, issued on January 1, 1863, named 10 separate states to which the abolition of slavery would apply. For this document Lincoln was criticized by supporters of the abolition of slavery. The fact is that it extended to states where the federal authorities had no control. But this measure did not concern the four slave states that fought on the side of the North — Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, and Maryland. Nevertheless, the “Proclamation on the Liberation of Slaves” played a role in turning the tide of the war in favor of the northerners.

Thirteenth amendment

On January 31, 1865, the US Congress voted to adopt the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibited slavery throughout the country. By December 6, 1865, it was ratified by a sufficient number of states for final approval, and entered into force on December 18.

By that time, Abraham Lincoln was no longer alive – in April 1865, just a week after the final capitulation of the South, he was shot by a supporter of losers, John Booth.

The thirteenth amendment was not a delight for many states. Kentucky ratified the document only in 1976, and the last instrument of ratification was sent to the US Federal Register from Mississippi on January 30, 2013. Still, slavery was abolished, and yesterday’s slaves gained personal freedom.

The reverse side of this freedom is said much less readily. The fate of tens of thousands of liberated black people was tragic.

 “Black codes”: slavery in a new wrapper

As already mentioned, the majority of American political figures of that time, including the fighters for the abolition of slavery, proceeded from the postulate of the superiority of the white race over black. Therefore, personal freedom for slaves did not mean their acquisition of civil rights.

Immediately after the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment in the southern states, the so-called “Black Codes” were adopted, which determined the order of life of the black population. For example, in Mississippi, negroes under the threat of life imprisonment, were denied the right to marry whites, it was forbidden to bear arms, their rights to own land were restricted.

The “Law on Apprentices” stated that all black skinned adolescents under 18 years of age who had no parents or children of poor parents were serving whites who could forcibly keep them in the service, return them in the event of a court escape and subject to corporal punishment.

Separately, it should be said about the laws on vagrancy that were included in the “Black codes”. Since the liberation of former slaves took place without allotment of land, yesterday’s masters threw free people onto the street, leaving them without a piece of bread and a roof over their heads.

Here they were subject to the “Vagrancy Act”. According to it, blacks, who did not have a permanent job, were declared vagrants, imprisoned and sent to convict brigades, or they found themselves on the plantations of the previous owners. The alternative was to pay a vagrancy fine, but they simply did not have money. At the same time, the exploitation of “vagrants” was sometimes even more cruel than before the abolition of slavery.

Reconstruction of the South

Black people thrown into the street, having no means of livelihood, began to commit thefts and robberies. This, in turn, was the reason for the creation of various associations of the white population to fight blacks. The most famous such organization was the Ku Klux Klan, whose members launched terror against blacks and white supporters of racial equality.

The federal government categorically disliked such trends. In the period from 1865 to 1877, the so-called South Reconstruction took place. In the territories of the southern states, a military administration was introduced, which was supposed to bring the laws of the South to federal standards.

In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was adopted, which granted citizenship to any person born in the United States, regardless of the color of his skin. In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was adopted, prohibiting authorities at the state or individual states from restricting citizens to active electoral law on the basis of “race, color or due to being in slavery in the past.”

Thanks to these documents, the first black parliamentarians appeared in the legislative bodies of the southern states. The federal government, concerned about the growing popularity of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1871 issued a special law that gave the president the power to act against the activists of the organization. After the arrests of hundreds of activists, the Ku Klux Klan was formally dissolved. However, in fact, on the ground, acts of terror continued.

Segregation as a norm of life

The so-called “Lynch Courts” – the murder of a person suspected of a crime or violation of social customs without trial or investigation — became particularly popular.

After the American Civil War, African Americans became the main victims of the Lynch Courts. The favorite method of murderers on such vessels was hanging the unfortunates or even burning them. There is no exact statistics on the “Lynch ships”. The University of Missouri specialists, studying this question, came to the conclusion that between 1882 and 1920 about 3,500 African Americans were subject to lynching. Critics believe that in this case we are talking only about the loudest public cases, and the total number of blacks killed by racists is measured in tens of thousands of people.

Reconstruction of the South ended in 1877, but it could not solve the issues of equality in the rights of people with different skin color. The era of the so-called “Jim Crow Laws”, which established racial segregation in American society began. Formally, the Fifteenth Amendment endowed black states in the southern states with voting rights, but local legislation was structured in such a way that the vast majority of African Americans remained powerless. For example, in the 1900 election in Alabama, out of 181,500 blacks, only 3,000 were allowed to vote.

Segregation concerned not only voting rights, but also all spheres of life. The separation of white and people of color was legalized in schools, hotels, shops, restaurants, hospitals, transport, toilets. At the bus stations, whites and blacks had to wait for their busses in different waiting rooms, and in the bus itself to sit in different places. Even the Bible for taking the oath in court was different for them.

Even more racism after abolishing slavery

Such laws only strengthened the racist sentiment among the white inhabitants of the southern states. Participation in the lynching of blacks was regarded as a very worthy cause. Although, we must say that at the end of the 19th – first half of the 20th century, more than 1,000 white criminals lynched. The only difference is that blacks were executed most often for minor crimes, and sometimes completely without any evidence of guilt.

Today, anyone can easily find on the Internet photos of smiling Americans against the background of disfigured human remains. The participants of lynching were considered an honor to be photographed against the background of a hanged or burned person. Moreover, such photos were turned into postcards with which they congratulated relatives. Sending a photo of a black man hanging on a tree with the words “Mom, Merry Christmas!” was a common thing for the USA in the first half of the 20th century.

On January 23, 1906, a white woman was raped in Chattanooga, Tennessee. On charges of crime was arrested black Ed Johnson. February 6, 1906 Johnson was convicted and sentenced to death. The execution was scheduled for March 20th. On March 19, the court allowed an appeal. On the same night, a mob broke into the city prison. Johnson was subjected to ruthless beatings, then hung on the bridge, and dozens of bullets were thrown into the dead body. In this case, the authorities brought the investigation to the end, and the lynching participants received 60 days in prison.

In 1916, 17-year-old black Jess Washington was sentenced to death by hanging for killing a white woman. The enraged mob tore him out of the hands of the jailers. Washington was dragged out into the street, stripped and beaten with sticks, shovels and bricks. Then, in the presence of 15,000 people, he was burned at the stake on the square in front of the city hall. Cut fingers and toes went for souvenirs.

In 1919, Black man was tried in Nebraska for raping a 19-year-old white girl. The crowd stormed the court, pulled out a criminal, immediately hung him up, then fired hundreds of bullets into the corpse, dragged him through the streets, chopped off limbs, poured gasoline on him and burned.

Paratroopers against racists: how they suppressed segregation

Several American presidents, including Franklin Roosevelt, tried to pass laws against lynching, but their attempts failed. Only in the 1960s lynching was considered an aggravated murder.

Only in June 2005, the US Senate adopted a resolution formally apologizing for inaction regarding the lynching of several thousand people, mostly blacks. As for the laws on racial segregation, their elimination took place in the USA after the Second World War. Moreover, the federal authorities had to apply emergency measures for this.

In 1954, the US Supreme Court, after a series of trials in different states, recognized that segregation in schools deprives black children of “equal protection of laws”, which contradicts the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. A court order imposed a legal ban on racial segregation in schools.

But this decision still had to be executed. In order for black pupils to go to the same school with whites in the city of Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957, the 101st Airborne Division was introduced into the locality. The paratroopers were ordered to carry out the decision of the court, despite the resistance of local authorities.

Is there freedom? There is a struggle for freedom

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson approved the Civil Rights Act, which completely eliminated racial segregation in the United States. This happened on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery.

Racial unrest, however, remains commonplace in America today. Many African Americans believe that even after the first black president’s reign, segregation has not gone away. So the struggle for freedom bestowed by Abraham Lincoln continues.