African-Americans In The Civil War


The foundation for black participation in the Civil War began more than a hundred years before the outbreak of the war. Blacks in America had been in bondage since early colonial times. In 1776, when Jefferson proclaimed mankind’s inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the institution of slavery had become firmly established in America. Blacks worked in the tobacco fields of Virginia, in the rice fields of South Carolina, and toiled in small farms and shops in the North. Foner and Mahoney report in A House Divided, America in the Age of Lincoln that, "In 1776, slaves composed forty percent of the population of the colonies from Maryland south to Georgia, but ...

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the determination to resist control by the slave owners. The slave's reaction to this desire and determination resulted in outright rebellion and individual acts of defiance. However, historians place the strongest reaction in the enlisting of blacks in the war itself. Batty in The Divided Union: The Story of the Great American War, 1861-65, concur with Foner and Mahoney about the importance of outright rebellion in their analysis of the Nat Turner Rebellion, which took place in 1831. This revolt demonstrated that not all slaves were willing to accept this "institution of slavery" passively. Foner and Mahoney note that the significance of this uprising is found in its aftermath because of the numerous reports of "insubordinate" behavior by slaves. 8 Individual acts of defiance ranged from the use of the Underground Railroad - a secret, organized network of people who helped fugitive slaves reach the Northern states and Canada - to the daily resistance or silent ...

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has ... the honor of being the first State in the Union to begin the organization of Negroes as soldiers for the Federal army." McPherson believes that up to this point President Lincoln had opposed the idea of blacks fighting for the Union but after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that slaves in states still in rebellion on January 1, 1863, "shall be then, thence forward, and forever free," he reversed his 8 thinking. At the end of the Emancipation Proclamation Lincoln announced that the freed blacks "would be received into the armed service of the United States...." Lincoln planned to tap into a new source of fighting ...

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Added: 6/22/2005 11:02:35 AM
Category: World History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2202
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