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Free Response Question

Essay by   •  November 18, 2012  •  Essay  •  543 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,024 Views

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The United States government's support of slavery was based on an overpowering practicality. So begins the ninth chapter of Howard Zinn's. A People's History of the United States explains it quite well, in the time slavery was convenient. Ending the system would be difficult for a lot of people who profited from the status quo. The Zinn quotation immediately asks the question of what other morally reprehensible things the United States of America is involved in because they are overwhelmingly practical situations. It is easy to name a few from this era of time.

Derrick Jensen had saw slavery as perhaps the Negro's necessary transition to civilization. Many other agree, and of course, many others disagree on the area of being a necessity. It wasn't just about subjugating members of a different-looking race, either, though many would think harsh to think this way, in no way belittling the rampant American practice. Instead, Zinn adds more troublemakers to the chapter. The slaveholders had suspected that non-slaveholders would encourage slave disobedience and even rebellion, not so much out of sympathy for the blacks as out of hatred for the rich planters and resentment of their own poverty. "White men sometimes were linked to slave insurrectionary plots, and each such incident rekindled fears," Zinn quotes Eugene Genovese, an American scholar popular in the 1960s and one of the first to read widely through a Marxist lens. In other words, class warfare among whites may have played a role. It is said that people with ultimate power have nothing to fear except losing that power, so many of them focus all their efforts on maintaining control, even to the point of paranoia also know as immortality.

1841 was when slaves were being illegally transported on the ship Creole and went to the West Indies, from where the British refused to extradite the majority of them. Congressman Lincoln recommends a resolution to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, accompanying it with a section requiring local authorities to arrest and return fugitive slaves coming into DC eight years later. Then only two more years after that, 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act was passed. Racism ran rampant in the North and the South, as it continues today. On the other hand, blacks began to vote, to hold property, to start their own churches, and to otherwise enjoy independence of thought and deed.

President Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln after his assassination, did all he could to stop this progress, but the 14th, 15th, and subsequent Amendments were eventually passed. Over 150 years later, there is still a ways to go. Blacks in the United States have endured a history of cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity. Their history and struggles cannot and should not be belittled, besmirched, or forgotten. That said blacks were not the only ones re-enslaved during Reconstruction. In the South, blacks

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