Race Relations Essay

Submitted By deathwish0726
Words: 1883
Pages: 8

Assignment 1: Reconstruction and Race Relations Paper

The addition of the Fourteenth Amendment was a major historical turning point in that America finally lived up to the true meaning of its origin as a country. Although originally written in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”, the meaning of those words finally read true. The four major parts of the fourteenth amendment state the following; State and federal citizenship for all persons regardless of race both born or naturalized in the United States was reaffirmed; No state will be allowed to abridge the “privileges and immunities” of citizens; Now no person was allowed to be deprived of life, liberty or property without “due process of law; and finally no person will be denied “equal protection of the laws. For the first time in the history of the nation everyone born or naturalized in America was in truth, was now an American. Another major historical turning point, and actually the final turning point, was the “Compromise of 1877” which ended any involvement the North had in the reconstruction effort of the South. Because of the disputed presidential election of 1876, the Democratic South would allow Republican Rutherford B. Hayes to become president if they maintained power in the southern states and the North would remove federal troops from the South. The North agreed as long as the South recognized Hayes as president and respected the rights of its free black citizens. Both sides agreed and any progress that black citizens had made in the South was soon to be erased and reconstruction was at an end. People continue to come from around the world, legally and illegally, in order to become American citizens. The Fourteenth Amendment is much stronger today than when it was initially ratified in 1868. The Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1964 to further support the Fourteenth Amendment during the civil rights movement. In fact the Fifteenth Amendment had to be added 1870 in order to ensure freed black men had the rights to vote even though it was covered under the Fourteenth Amendment and it also received additional support in 1965 under the Voting Rights Act. The Fourteenth Amendment protects each American individual’s freedoms on a federal and state level regardless of race, color or creed. The Compromise of 1877 ended reconstruction and removed all progress that blacks had made since the end of the Civil War. Schultz further explains, “Freed blacks lost whatever political and social gains they had achieved during the previous twelve years” (Shultz 2014, pg. 288). The compromise compromised black people for the next one hundred years. Blacks in the South had to endure the hatred of the Klan, Jim Crow laws (separate accommodations for black and white people which were clearly labeled) and racial discrimination that left blacks in position where most never realized their true potential and freedom. The civil rights movement of the nineteen fifties and sixties removed many of those barriers and additional legislative acts (previously mentioned) were signed into law to strengthen the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments signed into law one hundred years before. Blacks continue to gain ground politically and fiscally in today’s America but imagine the strides that could have been. Racial bigotry and discrimination will always exist where there is ignorance, no act or amendment will ever change that but blacks are fortunate to be alive at this time in history and enjoy the freedoms that many freed blacks were denied for hundreds of years. The assassination of President Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865 directly affected the path of the reconstruction. The president fought the war to win at any cost, period. He