Demanding Rights, Protecting Privilege

DemandingRights, Protecting Privilege

1.Why did the freedmen feel compelled to say they bear no ill willtoward their “former Oppressors”?

Afterthe abolishment of slave trade, freedmen felt constrained to claimthey bear no ill feelings on the former oppressor. One of the mainreasons why they felt compelled is because even after theabolishment, race discrimination was also still an oppressing factorto the Freedman (Foner, 2011).The inferiority that was seen in theslave was also passed even after the abolishment. Although equalitywas not expected to be realized, the freedman did not feel the greatimpact from “freeing.”

Inaddition, the Freedman was still limited to own parcels of land orget into any contractual relationship. Fundamentally, even after theabolishment of the slave trade, the Freedman was still prohibitedfrom entering into contractual relationships. Accordingly, none ofall these bans sounded good to the freedman, and they felt compelledto say they bear no ill feelings.

2.Why do Mississippi legislators define vagrancy in such vague terms?

Theenacting of the first “Black Codes” by the Mississippilegislators was aimed at upholding many vestiges of a slavery societyas possible. One of the main reasons why the legislature definedvagrancy in such vague terms is to create a boundary between thewhites and the blacks by making them feel the harsh reality ofliberation. Fundamentally, a considerable number were not pleasedwith the fleeing. Therefore, defining vagrancy was a way of denyingAfrican American the economic mobility freedom. Immediately after theact was enacted, White Southerners started to arrest freedmen.

3.What is significant about the freedmen’s use of the term “citizen”?

InU.S, “freedmen” is a term that is used to refer to former slaveswho liberated after the Civil War. On the other hand, a citizen is aperson who is recognized under law as being a legal member of astate. Although the Freedmen have been given freedom, it is importantto note that they enjoy little rights as compared to a citizen. Oneof the reasons why it is significant for the freedmen to use the termcitizen is because it reduces hate between them and their formeroppressors (Foner, 2011). Although various efforts have been made tohelp freedmen to transit from slavery to freedom, there still exist abroad gap between the oppressors and the Freedman.

4.Why is the right to vote a central concern for the freedmen?

Forthe freedmen, the right to vote is critical, as it is a preservativeof any other right. In practice, people feel a sense of ownership ifthey are allowed to vote. Fundamentally, voting is a powerful toolfor expressing power to the freedmen. Fundamentally, when U.S. wasfounded, the right to vote was given to only property owning White(Foner, 2011). Therefore, after the abolishment of slavery, Freedmenwere keener to be given the right to vote.

5.Why did the Radical Republicans in Congress believe that the federalgovernment had to intervene in the South after 1865 to protect therights of freedmen?

Afterthe Civil War, so much damage was done especially to theinfrastructure and the US economy was deteriorating .To rebuild thenation once again, the deep-seated Republicans in the Congressunderstood that the central government had to get involved to defendthe rights of the freedmen. Radical Republican assumed that the blackrace were entitled to the same political opportunities as the white.In addition, they were also in support that the confederate leadersshould receive a punishment for their responsibilities in the CivilWar (Foner, 2011). The punishment was make give the Freedmenconfidence that the U.S government regrets slavery and they are ready to do anything in their control to ensure slavery is notpracticed.


Foner,E. (2011).&nbspReconstruction:America`s unfinished revolution, 1863-1877.Harper Collins.