The civil war - Sample Essay

America is commonly known as “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, the first great democracy and a country where “All men are created equal” and they have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. They used this ideology as vindication for invading over countries to ‘make them like America’. However as this was happening, a large proportion of Americans were, like the countries America was trying to change, oppressed and treated like second-class citizens.

Having been shipped over as slaves, African Americans were eventually freed at the end of the Civil War in 1865 as slavery was abolished, theoretically making them equal, but despite this, there was still an unfair mentality about them, a large reason why the Civil Rights Movement faced such a great task, as they had the change preconceived ideas about the Blacks before any legislation would be followed.

Black people generally had the worst-paid unskilled jobs, and in the southern states, which had partly fought in the defence of slavery during the Civil War and put in place the ‘Jim Crow’ laws, making them supposedly “separate but equal”, but in fact it segregated them, giving black people social, economic and educational disadvantages. They also found it very difficult to vote, “You would be confronted with every conceivable obstacle taking the walk to the ballot box” (Martin Luther King 1963).

There were no ‘Jim Crow’ laws in the northern states, but black people still had to take most of the lowest paid jobs. They therefore had to live in the poorest areas of the cities, meaning that inner city slums often became separate black communities as had happened formally in the south. The war provided black Americans with a good opportunity to press their case for civil rights. During the First World War black leaders agreed to suspend their campaign for civil rights, expecting that improvements would come after the war. They did not repeat this mistake.

In 1941; Philip Randolph planned a 100,000 strong protest in industry. The government was alarmed at the prospect of a mass march, and decided to strike a bargain. Roosevelt agreed to ban discrimination against black workers in industrial and government jobs, and set up a committee to report of discrimination against black workers in private defence companies. They found out there was widespread discrimination in industry, however the FEPC could not force such companies to employ black people, but it could threaten not to give government contracts to them.