GML master doc.pdf - Chapter 15 u201cWhat Is...

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Chapter 15: “What Is Liberty”--Reconstruction The meaning of freedom: -Reconstruction brought into question the definition of freedom and if it meant absence of slavery or rights for former slaves Blacks and the meaning of freedom -For many, freedom meant escaping the punishments and abuse of slavery and sharing the rights of white Americans -Openly celebrated liberation through acquiring dogs, guns, liquor, and holding all blach church sermons -Former slaves left Southern plantations in search of liberty, family, and opportunity Families in freedom: -Prewar black institutions strengthened post war -The family became the center of the black community -Emancipation gave power to black men and brought forward the notion of men and women in separate spheres -Many black women enjoyed spending time with their families and in domestics until disproportionate poverty led them to go to work for wages Church and school: -The black community abandoned white institutions to create their own, specifically religious institutions -The rise of independent, black Methodist and Baptist churches redrew the religious map of the south -Black ministers began to play a role in politics, with 250 serving in office -Freedpeople’s quest for improvement was seen in education, as blacks went to schools started by the Freedmen’s Bureau, missionary societies, and ex slaves -Sought education to read the bible, prepare for the marketplace, and partake in politics circa 1876 -Creation of first black colleges Political freedom: -Freedom’s association with voting led to a movement for former slaves to be able to vote -”Slavery is not abolished until the black man has a ballot” -Post war, the black community entered the public sphere through conventions, parades, and petitions -Demonstrated sincere patriotism Land, labor, and freedom: -Many former slaves insisted they had a right to the land due to their labor, with blacks in 1865 seizing “joint property” that belonged to them -Former slaves’ definition of freedom held the values of family stability, religious freedom, and tolerance
-For whites, freedom was a birthright to be defended; to blacks, it was a process and transformation Masters without slaves: -Southern military defeat led to a feeling of required submission to the North -Widespread destruction and death led to economic dismay as many lost their life’s savings -Southern planters had a much different idea of slavery, seeing it as hierarchy and mastery, a priviledge not a right, and a legal status Free labor vision: -Northern republicans saw freedom as the principle of free labor -Free labor vision was that of former Southern slaves having the same rights at Northern workers, therefore increasing productivity -South would resemble similar vision with public schools, small towns, and independent farmers -Responsibilities fell on the Freedmen’s Bureau, created by Congress in 1865 to to establish a working free labor system The Freedmen’s bureau: -Founded by O. O. Howard, Bureau agents were supposed to establish schools, provide aid,

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