Zinn chapter 9 talks about slavery before and after the Civil War, it describes the United States Government’s support of slavery until Abraham Lincoln’s approach to end Slavery. It mentions how the slaves were kept into slavery by whipping, religion, separating families and even killing. There were many failed attempts to abolish slavery prior to the Civil War, including the rebellion launched by John Brown, which he was overall hanged for.
John Brown was executed by the state of Virginia with the approval of the national government due to his failed plan to seize the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and then set off a revolt of slaves through the South. The US Government would not accept an end to slavery by rebellion, but only under conditions controlled by whites, and only when required by political and economic needs of the North. It was Abraham Lincoln who was able complete this by bringing together the interests of the rich and interests of the blacks.
After Lincoln was elected there was a long series of policy clashes between the South and North. The clash was due to the South viewing Lincoln and the Republicans as a threat to their pleasant and prosperous way of life. So when Lincoln was elected ultimately 11 states seceded from the Union. The Confederacy which began the Civil War but in an effort to end the war, in September 1862, Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
This was a military move, giving the South 4 months to stop rebelling or else their slaves would be emancipated, if they followed, slavery would be untouched in the states that came over to the North. The Proclamation also opened up the Union army to the blacks. This was later issued January 1, 1863, encouraging antislavery forces. Later in April 1864 Senate had adopted the Thirteenth Amendment, declaring an end to slavery, and in January 1865, the House of Representatives followed. The Fourteenth Amendment declared that “all persons born or naturalize in the United States” were citizens.
This limited states’ rights regarding racial equality. The Fifteenth Amendment said: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. ” This opened the door for congress to pass laws making it a crime to deprive African Americans of their rights, like allowing them to enter into contracts and buy property. With these laws Negroes formed political organizations.
They were however held back for several years by Andrew Johnson who became president while serving as Vice President under Lincoln when Lincoln was assassinated at the end of the war. Johnson vetoed bills that helped African Americans and allowed states to rejoin the Union without guaranteeing equal rights for blacks. Johnsons’ actions did not sit well with Senators and Congressmen. Later in 1868, Congress almost succeeded in impeaching Johnson but was one vote short in the Senate. Later that year, Republican nominee Ulysses Grant would win the presidential election by 300,000 votes over Johnson.
This again opened up doors for blacks, who were being elected into southern state legislatures and the US Senate & Congress. Black women were also helping to rebuild the postwar south along with black children getting a better education. Even though it looked like African Americans were on their way to becoming equal there was still a lot of opposition and dependency on whites for work and necessities. The south used economic power to form the Ku Klux Klan and other terrorist groups. It wasn’t long until things were almost back to where it started.