A People’s History of the United States Chapter 9 Summary Chapter nine of Howard Zinn’s book explains slavery before and after the Civil War. The majority of the United States Government was in support of slavery until Abraham Lincoln publicized his support for the end of slavery.
This chapter includes details of slavery from the accounts of different slaves and records kept about their oppression. Their servitude was preserved through the separation of their families, whipping, and killing.Prior to the Civil War there were many failed attempts to abolish slavery, such as John Brown’s Raid. John Brown was later executed by Virginia for his failure to capture the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry which instigated a revolt of slaves throughout the South. The government did not wish to achieve the abolishment of slavery through revolts. Abraham Lincoln was able to combine the interests of the white elite and the blacks.
When Lincoln was elected, the South felt that their way of life was being threatened over the issue of abolishing slavery. This threat caused eleven states to secede the Union after Lincoln’s election. This secession created the Confederacy, starting the beginning of the Civil War. With Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation he tried to end the war.This gave the South four months to end its rebellion, slavery in the states that turned over to the North would not be touched. Through the Emancipation Proclamation, blacks were now able to serve in the Union army which was later issued January 1, 1863.
The Thirteenth Amendment was later ratified by the Senate in April 1864 and the House of Representatives followed in January 1865. All people born or naturalized in the United States are citizens was declared by the Fourteenth Amendment, which limited states’ rights concerning racial equality. The Fifteenth Amendment states that all citizens have the right vote and they shall not be denied on reason of race, color, or previous condition of enslavement. These amendments opened the door to Congress passing laws to make it a crime to deny blacks of their rights.
Blacks began forming political organizations with these laws. Andrew Johnson, who was Lincoln’s Vice President and became President after Lincoln’s assassination, held back the blacks. He vetoed bills that improved the rights of the blacks.These vetoes did not guarantee equal rights for blacks. The Senate and Congress did not like the actions of Johnson. The Congress, in 1868, were almost successful in their attempt to impeach Johnson and were only one vote short in the Senate.
The election of Ulysses Grant as president would reopen the doors for blacks, they began to be elected into the United States Congress, Senate, and southern state legislatures. Black women began helping to rebuild postwar south and black children began going to school. Although it looked as if blacks were starting to become equals there was still a lot of antagonism towards them and dependency on whites for work. The Ku Klux Klan and other terrorist groups were formed through the use of the South’s economic power. Not much later were thing back to where they began. It would still be a long time before blacks began to be treated as equals.