Constitutional and Social Changes that helped bring along a revolution

Essay by cmfields21High School, 11th gradeA+, November 2008

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Changers to the Constitution and social developments helped to bring along a revolution. When the United States passed the 13th amendment, the slave states erupted in anger because they had pretty much been bankrupted by the government. That was a Constitutional change that helped to bring along revolution. When Congress passed the 14th and 15th amendments the ex-slave states also got angry because it put blacks at the same social level as the whites. Those were just a few examples of some social and Constitutional developments that led to a revolution.

In the Causes of Secession 1860 it says that in the Constitution “certain duties were imposed upon the several states, and the exercise of certain of their powers was restrained, which imperiled their continued existence as sovereign states.” This meant that in the Constitution there were several amendments which imposed upon several states rights. One such amendment was the 13th amendment which outlawed slavery in all states.

The slave states that had to set all their slaves free sometimes would go bankrupt because all their money was in their slaves. In the cartoon “The First Vote” it shows some black men lining up getting ready to vote. This is a constitutional development because it was the constitution that said black men could vote. This caused riots by the slave states and sometimes the Ku Klux Klan would wait outside voting areas and harass the black men who came and voted. If the blacks didn’t stop voting then the Klan would sometimes go to a black person’s house and beat them or even lynch them. Another constitutional development was the black codes. In the 1874 Harpers Weekly picture it shows a KKK member and a White League member shaking hands over a banner that says “Worse than Slavery”. This is talking about the black codes and how they were basically the same thing if not worse than slavery.

Social developments also occurred which helped induce a revolution. In the “Petition from American Citizens” it says that “if we are called on to do military duty against the rebel armies in the field, why should we be denied the privilege of voting against rebel citizens at the ballot box?” This is saying that why is it that they can fight against the rebels but not vote against them. This is social and constitutional because it should be their social right to vote but, the constitution does not say they can vote at this time. That caused a social outbreak in the south which also helped cause a revolution. In the “Freedmen of Edisto Island Petition” it says that the people of Edisto Island want homesteads and their promises for land kept. This is social because again it is the social right of the blacks of Edisto Island to own land and to be able to cultivate it and live on it. This caused and outbreak of anger from the owner of Edisto Island who came back and had found his land taken over by his slaves.

These were just a few of the social and constitutional developments which helped cause a revolution. The most impacted one of all is the 13th amendment because it gave blacks freedom.

Divine, Robert. America Past and Present. Eighth. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007.