United States History II
2 October 2015
Western Expansion After the Civil War
One of the most significant moral problems faced in US history has been racism, specifically against blacks. After the Emancipation Proclamation, all the blacks in the US were free, or so they thought. Unfortunately, like many major laws and regulations put in place in America, Blacks being free was not acknowledged and accepted by everyone right away. It would be many years before a black person would feel as free as a white person. There are two documents specifically that show the injustice blacks faced even after they were freed. The first document is a former slave’s testimony to the court, and the other is a model contract for sharecroppers. The mere existence of these two documents serves to show how clear and significant a problem racism was at this time in history, and how little the legal freedom of blacks impacted their quality of life.
When black were initially freed, many of them had nowhere to go, and ended up staying with their owners who then became their boss. However, many former slave owners maintained their unfair work requirements and paid their new workers very little if anything. “The man I belonged to told me it was best to stay with him. He said, ‘The bad white men was mad with the Negros because they were free and they would kill you all for fun.’ He said stay where we are living and we could get protection from our old masters.” (Sterling 1). This is an unfortunate example of whites syphoning blacks’ freedom by tricking them. The slave-owners use the fact that blacks have no resources to initially join society. They trick them by saying there are bad people out there who want to hurt them. The plantation owners promise to let the workers keep a miniscule portion of what they make, making blacks think they have to work their way up in society and prove that they are worth their freedom. Henry Adams, (the former slave giving...