Essay codes” here released to better detail black people’s

Essay
1 (option 1)

Reconstruction
took place after the Civil war during the years 1865-1877. This era was full of
many questions without clear answers, and therefore I do not believe it was a
radical break from the past. This era was exceptionally revolutionary, but not
a break from past occurrences or thoughts. Using what we knew as a country to
understand where we were at that point in time, there was little understanding
of what to do next. Would the confederacy be allowed back into the Union
without any consequences? Would black men and women be of the same social
status as white men and women? Would racism and violence be put to rest? There
was a break in the initial violence, but now there is a form of political
violence to be had when answering these harder questions. I do not think that
the Reconstruction was a radical break from the past.

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Firstly,
we can see that the country was in shambles right after the Civil war. There
were four years of war that impacted the country’s resources as well as their
people. Thousands upon thousands died during this war on the home-front for the
abolition of slavery. But after the fighting had ceased and the Union had
officially won, there were multiple other issues that needed to be resolved.  The administration of Andrew Johnson, after
Lincoln’s assassination, worked to ensure the rights of slaves, while also
allowing them to work.  Under Johnson, a
series of “black codes” here released to better detail black people’s activity.
These codes are defining freedom that very much resembled slavery. According to
an article titled “Mississippi Black Code, November 1865” from our textbook,
“every civil officer shall, and every person many arrest and carry back to his
or her legal employer any freedman, free negro or mulatto.” This definitely has
hints of slave-management tones, although they added the word “free.” This was
in no way a break from the past. If anything, it was moving towards the
limitation of black people once again. To be considered a “radical break from
the past” I believe there had to have been some forward momentum off the bat.
This era seemed to begin with many struggles and doubt.

Slavery
is the big question posed here after the war. Those who had fought for the
abolition of slavery were outraged to see political figures move towards a
limited form of treatment when it came to black people. Republicans in congress
began to take control of the Reconstruction that was going on in the South. The
Reconstruction act was passed in 1867, which organized suffrage and split the
south into military districts. This poses a big question for me, are these
states ready to be committed to the Union now? Considering they were the enemy
for four years, why would they feel the need to organize the south in such a
way now? According to an article titled “Reconstruction” written for the
History Channel, “By 1870, all of the former Confederate states had been
admitted to the Union, and the state constitutions during the years of Radical
Reconstruction were the most progressive in the region’s history” (History). Whether
they felt as though the South was perfectly acceptable in the Union or not,
they admitted them to attempt to move forward after the war. It wasn’t until
1877 that all of the northern troops were removed from the south, the end of
reconstruction. I do not think that this era was a radical break whatsoever.
The changes that took place had to have been changed a few times before they
were actually what the white abolitionists wanted as well as free black former
slaves.

Secondly,
“African-American participation in southern public life after 1867 would be by
far the most radical development of Reconstruction” (History). The rights of
those who had earned freedom were slim towards the beginning, but eventually
moved towards a greater equality as time wore on alongside new laws. The three
most important laws during reconstruction were the three amendments that were
passed dealing with slavery as a thing of the past. The 13th
amendment, which abolished slavery, came first. Second was the 14th
amendment, giving black people birthright citizenship in the United States, and
third was the 15th amendment, giving black men the right to vote.
This part of the reconstruction was definitely the most influential and long
lasting, but it seemed to definitely take some arguing and some protesting to
get to this point. There were also those who opposed black integration
altogether, such as the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) who organized themselves in 1866. Many
accounts of violence and discrimination after the initial emancipation has been
recorded. According to another article from the textbook titled “Klan Violence
Against Blacks,” we can see a large amount of reported violence and racial
discrimination towards people who made themselves known to the KKK community. “At
last they came up to my brother’s door, which is in the same yard, and broke
open the door and attacked his wife, I heard her screaming and mourning” (Johnson).

When
asking the big questions during this time period, we can see that there was no
immediate action towards helping black people become 100% independent after the
war. They were free, slavery had been abolished. But those like Johnson who
attempted to still limit their rights were still there. There is a reason that
giving the right for black men to vote wasn’t one of the earliest amendments.
There will still be segregation or decades afterwards as well as racism and
discrimination. Therefore, I believe that this era was not a point of radical
breakthroughs, it was a buildup of hundreds of years that had finally succumb
to the weight of its problems. I believe that there was no ultimate tipping
point after the Civil war. I do not think that the Reconstruction was a radical
break from the past. (988)

 

 

Essay
2 (option 1)

Manifest
destiny rooted itself in thousands of people who lived on the east coast and
who dreamed of a new life. Westward expansion began to finally become a
tangible thing. Jobs were offered, land bought and sold, and expansion was
officially beneficial in more ways than one. Railroads were important, the
discovery of gold as well. But there were also issues. When the Louisiana
purchase was bought in 1803, slavery was still in place. The Mexican war took
place in 1837, and issues were still to be resolved. Thanks to the Louisiana
and Gadsden purchases, we acquired thousands of square miles of land to expand
upon. I believe that the role of western expansion was to create a powerful
country and to promote national growth in the years 1840-

The
transcontinental Railroad was the backbone of America. The first official
railroad was built in 1859 and inspired economic and population growth in the
Midwest. This step towards inhabiting the Westward portion of the country
brought a substantial component towards full expansion. Moving around America
was hard, most used covered wagons for most of their transportation during the
“Oregon trail” period. Once transportation became easier and more available,
those who had wanted to move westward could do so much easier. This inspired
population growth in westward areas and the introduction of larger cities and
towns in these areas. According to an article written for The History Channel,
titled “Westward Expansion,” “By 1840, nearly 7 million Americans–40 percent of
the nation’s population–lived in the trans-Appalachian West” (History). Not
only did the railroad inspire population growth, it also assisted with job
opportunities. There was land to be had in the north west, and jobs building
the railroad got those who desired them closer to obtaining them. The railroad
also allowed for an economical expansion of the United States, allowing farmers
or merchants to sell goods that would be able to make it across the country via
train. This played a large role in westward expansion, inspiring national
growth economically and population wise. The transcontinental railroad united
America, making it a possibility for success in their unexplored territory. This
influence on westward expansion brought America one step closer to being a well-rounded
country. This powerful step made America more accessible and more usable. When
tying that into the role of westward expansion being to create a more powerful
country, I think that the railroad helped exceptionally with this milestone.

When
it comes to struggles faced during this era, we could stand to name a few.
Slavery was still in place until 1865 until after the Civil war. That means the
purchase was there for about 62 years before the abolishment of slavery, and
therefore it was an issue when expansion came into play. At this point in time,
designated states were either free or slave states. The question in play was
what would these new states or territories be? Would they be free or slave
states? According to the article titled “Westward Expansion,” the Missouri
compromise attempted to solve this question. Missouri became a slave state
under this compromise and Maine became free. This resolved it for a little
while, until the Mexican war began in 1837. “Polk declared war against Mexico,
claiming (falsely) that the Mexican army had ‘invaded our territory and shed
American blood on American soil'” (History). Through these struggles, America
gained Texas as a slave state and Oregon as a free state. Eventually, because
of these struggles, they would own the entirety of the land from coast to
coast. This helped to grow our country, maintain peace with neighbors after the
treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo that put an end to the Mexican war and added the 1
million square miles to the United States.

The
Gold Rush is the most intriguing instance in American History, I personally
think. The idea that thousands of people would move westward to simply attempt
to find gold and start a better life was such a driving factor it’s impressive.
There are accounts of those who observed the initial start of the gold rush,
which began in 1840’s. According to an article in our textbook “Reading the
American Past” titled “California Gold Rush Diary, 1849-1850, we can see many
instances in which people decided that the risk was worth it and moved. “Being
troubled with the golden dream…” states Walter Colten, the author of this diary
entry, “I determined to put an end to the suspense, and dispatched a messenger
this morning to the American Fork” (Johnson). The desire to move westward can
be influenced by many things, a job, a promise of land, and in this case gold.
The role of western expansion was to create a powerful country, getting wealthy
items and resources into circulation among American people meant income for the
economy. This was a major driving factor towards expansion.

I
believe that the role of western expansion was to create a powerful country and
to promote national growth. Through the transcontinental Railroad building we
saw economic growth and support as well as the ease of transportation becoming
more and more available. With the issues we faced including slavery in the
newer states, we found ourselves at war with Mexico and obtained 1 million
square miles of more land to add to our growing country. The Gold rush proved
to be helpful by stimulating more movement and economy, promoting the
excavation and settlement of land where gold may or may not be. Throughout
westward expansion, we see growth and wealth being acquired by the United
States, that was the main role of westward expansion. (932)