“Nothing But Freedom”

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade January 2002

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Freedom was granted to slaves through emancipation and enforced by amendments and federal assistance. Attempts by Republicans and their black constituency to ensure black people's freedom were dashed by racism and the fear of most southern whites of black success. Between the years of 1865 and 1890 the freedmen went from a period of high hopes, opportunity, and governmental support to despair, oppression, and for the most part, desertion by the federal government.

Some blacks succeeded with their newly attained rights but eventually freedom gave most former slaves new fears, new threats, and new situations for whites to abuse them. Freedom did not allow blacks to make permanent or long lasting gains politically, economically, or socially after their emancipation.

Political freedom was given to former slaves in the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. The 13th Amendment ended slavery, the 14th protected black's rights, and the 15th gave black men the right to vote.

Freedom was given to slaves and it was taken away as well. After the success of some southern blacks in elections and the start of the New South, promises began to fall through and dreams began to deteriorate. The 13th Amendment ended one form of slavery and convict leasing started another. The 14th Amendment protected black civil rights and the Jim Crow Laws and Black codes took them away. The 15th Amendment gave blacks the right to vote while poll taxes, literacy tests and the threat of violence prevented its use.

After the Civil War, most southern states adopted severe black codes to prevent former slaves, called freedmen at the time, from having the full rights of citizens and to reimpose, as much as possible, the labor and racial controls of slavery.

As the Redeemers took power near the end of Reconstruction, the government's attitude toward black...