Danielle Ebohon Mrs. AngelU.S.
History12 January 2018The Effect of the Civil War on the African American Community In 1861, One of the most historically significant war erupted, The Civil War. In order to protect the practice of slavery, 11 southern states separated themselves from the Union and formed their own country, The Confederate States of America. Abraham Lincoln, The President at the time, was willing to do anything to keep the union together, and refused to recognize the Confederate states as an independent country, resulting in war. With slavery being one of the main causes of the war, it is remembered mostly for the effect it had on the African American Community.
The North wasn’t just fighting to keep the Union together, they were fighting to end slavery.When the war first started, many free back men hurried to join the Union Army. Abraham Lincoln skeptical at first, with the fear that allowing Back men to serve in the Union Army , would cause the border states to withdraw themselves from the Union. However in 1862, The Second Confiscation and Militia Act, and the Signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, allowed black men to serve in the Union Army. Even though Black Men were allowed to serve on the Union Army, didn’t necessarily mean they were equal. Black men we treated differently in every aspect, from their pay to their training. But they were still important, especially a particular group of Union Troops, Known as the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, The first black volunteer unit to enlist and serve in the Union Army.
They are known for their very heroic acts in the battle of Fort Wagner, where they suffered heavy loss and where defeated by the confederate, but still displayed very important qualities and never once retreated, even when reinforcements never arrived. Even After being warned by the Confederate, that those who are captured would be sold back into slavery, they went and fought on the battlefield, fighting to end slavery. Their behavior on the battlefield that day open doors for other black units to serve in the Union Army. A lot of Black Men got to fight in the war, but a lot didn’t. Many Officers in the north didn’t allow Black Men to fight,and gave them other duties, such as nurses and cooks, all vital jobs in the success of the Army as one. While most blacks that played a role in the civil war were fighting with the Union Army, some were fighting against it. Although it might sound ironic, some Black Men served in the Confederate army, but not necessarily willingly.
Most Blacks that served on the Confederate Army were recognized as Slave Laborers or Servants tending to their Master. However, In 1864, The President of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis proposed to arm slaves , due to the shortage of Confederate Soldiers. About a year later, On March 13,1865, a law was passed in the confederacy, stating that slaves would be freed if they enlisted in the Confederate Army, with permission from their Owners. Even though Slaves knew they would be free if they enlisted in the Army, Many didn’t, knowing they would be fighting to keep slavery alive. After a long 4 years fighting to keep the Union together and to end slavery, in the spring of 1865, On April 9th, Robert E Lee surrender to Ulysses S. Grant, ending the war, claiming victory for the Union. Even though the war had ended, the effects it would have on the African American community would last a lifetime.
Immediately after the war had ended plans for reconstruction were on their way. Abraham Lincoln, who unfortunately was assassinated at the end of the war, didn’t want to punish the southern states for their behavior and wanted to make it easy for them to join back with the Union, but any state that wants to be added back to the union must abolish slavery in their state . However, due to Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew Johnson was president during the reconstruction period and him being from the south wanted to make the process of reconciliation easier for southern states, but congress disagreed and began to pass harsh laws regarding the south. Realizing that they would either have to abolish slavery or remain by themselves in which they knew they wouldn’t survive, southern states began to pass laws preventing blacks from doing anything from voting to getting a job, known as black codes. When congress realized that southern states were trying to make life harder for those of color, they ratified more amendments to protect their rights.
They added the 13th amendment abolishing slavery, the 14th amendment, declaring the Blacks were considered citizens of the united states and they are treated equally and fairly under the law and the 15th amendment , which allowed all the men the right to vote, regardless their skin color.