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African-American Studies. Unit 4 African-Americans & the Civil War 1861-1865 Mr. Campbell. Start of the Civil War.
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African-American Studies Unit 4 African-Americans & the Civil War 1861-1865 Mr. Campbell
Start of the Civil War • Spurred by Lincoln's election to the presidency in 1860 and South Carolina's continued articulation of its 1832 doctrine of nullification, eight states seceded from the Union between December 1860 and April 1861 and established a provisional government. • In March 1861 in his First Inaugural Address, Lincoln indicated that although he had no intention of interfering with slavery where it existed, He would not permit secession • Lincoln’s initial intent was to preserve the Union and not end slavery
The Southern states formed their own government which they called it “Confederate States of America” or the Confederacy. • They elected Jefferson Davis as their President. • On April 12, 1861, Davis ordered the Confederate troops to fire on Ft. Sumter thus starting the Civil War
Lincoln’s thoughts on blacks • Lincoln, in fact, regarded blacks as the intellectual inferiors of whites; believing the two races could not coexist peacefully • He supported black emigration as the solution to the nation's racial problem • In 1862, for example, he implemented a pilot colonization project that used federal funds to settle about five hundred blacks on an island off the southern coast of Haiti.
Lincoln’s changed perception • By September 1862, Lincoln's initial position regarding the war and slavery had changed • He issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation: effective January 1, 1863, it made the abolition of slavery a war aim--a military objective • The efforts of the abolitionists, who constantly reminded Lincoln of the military advantages of freeing the slaves, helped produce this document
Impact of the Emancipation Proclamation • An estimated five hundred thousand slaves (12.5 percent of the total slave population) ran away from their owners during the war • The Emancipation Proclamation applied only to the Confederate-held states and territories and actually freed no slaves but it did encourage more of them to escape • This loss of slaves eventually helped impair the South's capacity to pursue the war.
African-Americans in the War • Northern blacks were initially rejected when they volunteered to fight, since their participation implied equality and blacks were believed to be too servile and cowardly to fight whites • "this is a white man's war," was the Northern expression at the start of the Civil War
By the summer of 1862, the official policy of not using blacks had been changed • Due to the decline of whites in the North volunteering because a series a defeats in battle and lowered morale and willingness to fight the government changed their position to let blacks fight in the military
On July 17, 1862, Congress passed two acts providing for the enlistment of black soldiers • The first was the Confiscation Act, which empowered the President "to employ as many persons of African descent as he may deem necessary and proper for the suppression of the rebellion." • The second authorized the employment of free blacks as soldiers.
In November 1862, the First South Carolina Volunteers became the first regiment organized officially after the policy reversal--Thomas Wentworth Higginson was put in charge of this regiment • The first northern black unit, the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment, was organized in January 1863, on July 18, 1863 • The 54th led an assault on Fort Wagner, a Confederate strong-hold that guarded the entrance to the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. • This battle proved the bravery and courage of African American troops and facilitated their acceptance as northern soldiers
The Emancipation Proclamation and the War Department's establishment in May 1863 of a Bureau of Colored Troops, designed to coordinate the raising of black regiments, also fostered the use of blacks as Union soldiers. • These two measures helped the North to raise more troops and to ultimately win the Civil War
Life of a Black Soldier • By the war's end about 186,000 blacks, organized in 166 all-black regiments, had served in the Union army (out of a total of 1.8 million) • 26,000 blacks had served in the navy (out of a total of about 188,000)
For the most part, whites treated black soldiers with contempt; blacks were subjected to many indignities and injustices • For example, they received lower pay until June 1864 (ten dollars per month for a private versus sixteen dollars and fifty cents for a white of equal rank) • Their training was generally poor; their regiments were led by white officers; they were assigned disproportionately to heavy labor and fatigue duty; and they were often exploited, being given more dangerous assignments
Black soldiers experienced the highest casualty rate not only because of such deployment (37,000 of a total 360,000 Union deaths) • Confederates refused to accept blacks as prisoners so they were executed and this also caused for high death rates among blacks
Other services Blacks offered • In addition to taking up arms against the South, African Americans rendered invaluable service to the Union forces behind the lines • They were scouts, spies, nurses, cooks, teamsters, carpenters, and laborers. • For example, Harriet Tubman, the famed Underground Railroad conductor, saw duty as both a spy and a nurse for the Union army.
Blacks in the South • The South's use of its slaves enabled it to release a large number of white males for direct service with the Confederate forces • Slaves were mobilized to work mines, repair railroads, build fortifications, work in factories, and continue agricultural production • the South never officially used slaves as soldiers, in the final months of the war it did indicate its willingness to free any slaves who would fight for the Confederacy. On March 13, 1865, Jefferson Davis signed the Negro Soldier Law which promised slaves freedom for service in the Confederacy
Riots in the Nation • Violence occurred during the Civil War in the form of anti-black riots in several northern cities, including Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Boston, Troy, Newark, and Jersey City • These riots occurring mainly between 1862 and 1863, riots were sparked by: • job competition between white and black laborers • the white workingman's fear that emancipation would cause hordes of African Americans to come north, enter the labor market, and depress wages • by inflammatory statements expressing Copperhead sentiments of the Democratic press and Democratic politicians
The bloodiest of these disturbances was the notorious New York City draft riot of July 1863 • It lasted for four days, during which eleven African Americans were killed and three hundred made homeless.
13th Amendment • December 1863, the Thirteenth Amendment, prohibiting slavery in the United States and any place subject to its jurisdiction, was introduced in Congress • January 31, 1865, it had passed both houses in Congress, and by December it had been ratified by three-fourths of the states • This amendment, which fulfilled the unfinished work of the Emancipation Proclamation, freed all slaves
Freedmen’s Bureau • In March 1865, the Freedmen's Bureau, the first federal welfare agency, was established • Charged with furnishing aid to ex-slaves in the form of food, clothing, medical services, education, and the supervision of work contracts, it lasted throughout most of the Reconstruction era • It also assisted white refugees in their efforts to recover from the war
Other Notable Programs • Among earlier wartime efforts to assist ex-slaves were those on the Sea Islands (Gullah Islands) of South Carolina, which Union forces captured in November 1861 • One notable participant in these efforts was Charlotte Forten, a black woman. A member of the famous Forten family of Philadelphia, she had received her training as a teacher in Massachusetts • Ms. Forten taught on Saint Helena Island between 1862 and 1864 as a part of the "social experiment" designed to prove that freedmen were as capable of self-improvement as whites • Her diary covering these two years is an important source of information about the life and culture of newly freed slaves
CIVIL WAR ENDS • On April 9, 1865 when General Robert E Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederates) at the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House the Civil War ended • With the surrender of General Lee the North won the war • Most sources agree that the total number killed was between 640,000 and 700,000, broken down with over 360,000 Union soldiers and over 260,000 Confederate soldiers .
Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination • On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth, a famous actor and Confederate sympathizer, fatally shot President Abraham Lincoln at a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. • The attack came only five days after the Civil War ended • With Lincoln’s death also was the hope of a peaceful return of the Southern states to the Union taken away
Reconstruction Era 1865-1877 • The Radical Republicans would take control of Reconstruction (period after the Civil War, the nation rebuild) and punish the South for the Civil War • The Radical Republicans would give blacks citizenship (14th Amendment), voting rights (15th Amendment), and pass laws to prevent their discrimination • During Reconstruction, African-Americans fled their plantations in search of family members, better life, and also obtained education through the many schools opened to them