Wednesday, December 4, 2019

How did freed persons define freedom for themselves free essay sample

Freedom by definition is the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Freedom came before the Emancipation Proclamation for some when they had crossed over to Union territory and for others after the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States and its territories. During Reconstruction, freed persons began creating their own communities with their own social institutions. They claimed their right to be free and stopped working for a master. This was also known as autonomy, control of one’s affairs, both as individuals and as a community. Independent institutions were formed as a result of their newly found freedom such as churches, schools and newspapers. This became the basis for their communities formed by freed people. Freed persons changed their style of clothing and even their names to symbolize their freedom. They were able to travel freely without being stopped and questioned. We will write a custom essay sample on How did freed persons define freedom for themselves or any similar topic specifically for you Do Not WasteYour Time HIRE WRITER Only 13.90 / page Families reunited after years of separation. Churches became the strongest social organization amongst these communities. Ministers became leaders of the communities, setting up schools for both adults and children. Newspapers like the New Orleans Tribune as well as others were created and helped shape these communities too. Sharecropping and wage laborers emerged after land redistribution since few were able to acquire land on their own. Voting rights was also another defined freedom practiced especially after the Fifteenth Amendment. With these new opportunities as slavery ended, it also brought obstacles faced by these newly freed persons. There was a lenient approach to bring back states to the Union and accept emancipation. As a result, violence and black codes ensued after the war. State legislatures passed a series of black codes between 1865 and 1866. These black codes placed restraints on freed people. Such codes limited them to agricultural work, employment contracts, restricted ownership of land, forced labor for those without a job and disallowed freed persons to walk the countryside without permission. These black codes were set to legally control their newly found freedom and ensure the southern way of life at that time period. Violence was also used to subdue freed people. Many were injured and even killed as an act to control freed slaves. An example of a group that used violence and terror as their answer was known as the Ku Klux Klan, formed in 1866. This secret organization was led by a former confederate general and used such methods in hopes of restoring white supremacy. With president Johnson’s strong commitment to states rights, these southern states did minimal efforts to stop the violence and restraints against the newly freed people. As a result, Republicans passed several amendments in an effort to help the newly freed people. Unfortunately, the efforts failed to fulfill many hopes of the newly freed people by the end of Reconstruction.

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