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Slavery, American Civil War, and Reconstruction Essay

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The Indian removal from the southeast in the late 19th century

Indian removal from the Southeast in the late 19th century was as a result of the rapid expansion of the United States into the south. The white settlers considered it an obstacle to development, the settlements made by the Indians in the lower south. It resulted in the removal of the Indian nation to pave way for land that could be used to grow cotton. The U.S military under the command of Andrew Jackson recovered over twenty acres of land from the Creeks in the southern part of Georgia. Treaties were successfully negotiated between the government and the Indians by agreeing to take western lands in exchange for their eastern lands (Jahoda, 1975).

The year 1823 saw the Supreme Court passing a rule that gave the Indians the right to occupy lands within the USA but not issued with the title deeds. This was because of the court ruling that the Indian’s right of occupancy was not fully legalized by the United States government.

Their settlements were inferior to the USA government’s right to discovery. The Indians reacted to this by drafting policies that restricted the sale of what they considered their land to the government. The year 1827 saw the Indians adopt their constitution and declared their land a sovereign nation in an attempt to redeem their stolen lands. These actions were not fully recognized by the state of Georgia, who still regarded Indians as tenants on the United States land (Jahoda, 1975).

The Indian removal act was pushed by Jackson in 1830 which gave him the power to hold negotiation meetings with the Indian tribes. These meetings were meant to remove the treaties that had been signed earlier between the government and the Indian tribe that negotiated the exchange of land from east to west. The removal act affected most of the Indians in the Southeastern and the North. The act championed peaceful removal through voluntary actions. It met resistance from those in the Southeast, which forced the President to apply some forceful means of eviction. This removal was meant to resettle the Indians in an area where they would find peace in governing themselves (Jahoda, 1975).

Plantation life for the slaves

Slavery was believed to have resulted from issues like racism and cultural roots. Several debates tried to explain the effects of slavery on the culture of the victims and the United States as a nation. Slavery was accompanied by some very brutal acts that focused on violence, forced labor, racial discrimination amongst other facts. All the slaves were considered to possess lots of productivity towards work the majority worked as field hands, most of which were male. Women were preferred as house servants while, men were preferred as artisans and slave drivers (Horton & Horton, 2005).

They worked throughout the day and rested only at night hours and specified days. They created some form of community and practiced their cultures within the quarters that they formed. The slaves were granted limited autonomy that affected the normal running and preservation of their families. The wife-husband relationship was not legalized within the plantations. The traditional role of the couples being either the provider or the protector was not easy to fulfill even though the fathers tried their level best to grant the necessary affection to their families.

Christianity brought a sense of meaning to the slaves within the plantation quarters, religion acted as a source of refuge to many. It saw the promotion of Christianity by the planters within the quarters since they considered the tremendous contribution that Christianity had on the level of slave obedience to their masters. There was the creation of African American Christianity, which was meant to purely serve the needs of the slaves and not their masters.

The political and economic issues that led to the civil war and the “Crisis of Union”

The compromised convictions that led to the signing of treaties made America be built based on pretense and tolerance. These pretense ties coupled with political ambitions broke loose in the 1850s; sharp division arose between the Northerners and the Southerners. The Northerners supported the acts of industrial development, the tariffs, and possession of free land from the west. It was contrary to Southerners, who were much concerned about human rights, the setting of free trade zones, and the abolition of slavery. It led to the start of the blame game and ultimately war (Linden, 1994).

Many leaders proposed for the diversion of compromises since it was the major catalyst for the violence that broke out. No party was willing to step down its demands for consensus; maintenance of unity over regional interests was no longer an issue of concern. The origin of the crisis could be traced back to the compromised deals that had been made earlier. There was a bone of contention between those supporting right to property ownership and those demanding individual rights.

Lots of queries were raised over the compromise that was made in 1850 that established the issue on states and expanded slavery beyond the country’s borders. The battle over Kansas presented a major core of the conflict this brought conflict within political parties and executive arms of government. It brought about several elections in search of a good President; this led to further destabilization of the union because of the constant exchange of blows (Linden, 1994).

The Civil War

The United States was forced to adopt policies that focused on military emancipation within all opposing states. This led to the preservation of the constitution and unity based on power-sharing between the state government and the national and the Radicals stand on the issue of equality based on human rights. It also saw the commencement of reforms and the revision of the constitution. Secession presented continuity of process that had begun earlier on with the emergence of different reception from both parties (Owen, 1998).

The government, through the war, managed to extend the nation’s founding principles through the creation of national democracy that recognizes racial integration based on moral principles of the law. Democracy practiced by Jackson led to a split of Americans along social lines, religion, and race. These included the disparity between the rich and the poor, protestant and Catholics, and the Northerners against the westerners. The preservation of American integrity and culture was considered as the greatest progress towards destiny. Therefore, the emergence of secession was a very serious act of offense towards American dignity and survival.

Women played a very big role during the civil war by providing medical relief services within the field and the military camps. They were more involved in activities such as providing food, washing clothes of those who were on the battlefield, and also acted as seamstresses. They were the majority that formed part of the relief workers they worked for salaries to enable them to sustain and provide for their families in the absence of their husbands (Owen, 1998).

The political approaches of the Freedmen, the Radicals in Congress, and the Southern Democrats about Reconstruction following the Civil War

The Freedmen drafted the black codes, which gave them more rights compared to free blacks despite having limited access to civil rights. The black codes provided for limitations on the ability of blacks to have full control over employment.

These codes were ultimately abolished with the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that granted the Freedmen freedom to equality. The Freedmen championed for the rejection of the tough labor laws that were used as a means of oppression on slaves and gave strong support for planters in the process of bargaining for their rights. It led to the adoption of systems that granted greater economic independence and social liberty (Foner, 2002).

The southern democrats comprised of white southerners who surrendered power to Republicans. They stood opposed to the sufferings of the Negroes for economic reasons rather than racial reasons. They fought for economic liberty amongst the planters and the common farmers and also leveraging of taxes for the benefit of common American citizens. It led to the domination of blacks by Democrats to political offices.

On the other hand, the radical Republicans pursued policies that were focused on protecting the southern blacks based on both human ethics and political ambitions. The Radicals were the key supporters of the abolition of black slavery. They pushed for the creation of black civil rights that formed one of the cornerstones of reconstruction. These amendments led to the abolishment of slavery paving way for civil rights, which guaranteed equality under American law. Adoption of the constitution as the country’s fundamental law led to restructuring people’s thoughts towards reconstruction (Foner, 1990).


Horton, J. & Horton, L. (2005). Slavery and the making of America. New York: Oxford University Press.

Foner, E. (1990). A Short History of Reconstruction. New York: Harper Perennial.

Foner, E. (2002). Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

Jahoda, G. (1975). The Trail of Tears: The Story of the American Indian Removals 1813-1855. New York: McGraw Hill.

Linden, G. (1994). Voices from the House Divided: The American Civil War as Personal Experience. New York: McGraw Hill Cos.

Owen, C. J. (1998). The American Journey, A History of the United States. Upper Saddle, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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