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The Free State of Jones delineates the struggle and journey of many on their road to achieve respect, and citizenship in America. Between 1862-1876 issues regarding class, racial equality, nationality and patriotism were especially present in the Southern states of America (Footnote TFSOJ). During these times plantation owners relied heavily on the service of slaves to plant, grow, and harvest vital crops that would lead to their master’s success (FOOTNOTE LN). Land owners with slaves were envied by many as in some instances they were later pardoned from military services with the introduction of the “20 negro rule” which provided some form of protection for those rich enough to own at least 20 or more slaves (FOOTNOTE TFSOJ)
The 1808 congressional ban on importing foreign salves caused several issues in the Southern States, which ultimately attributed to The Civil War (FOOTNOTE LN). The American Civil war was largely a classist battle in which the impoverished fought for the interests of the rich who predominately had influence on the country at this time. Many children and men were taken away from their families and forced to fight in this war, which eventually came with its price (FOOTNOTE R). Given the nature of the war many realized their potential fate, which lead them to desert or even rebel against confederation such as Newton Knight does in The Free State of Jones.
As deserters, homeless women and children, and runaway slaves came together the upheaval against confederate soldiers was enough to bring these diverse people together for common patriotic interests… As mentioned at the Confederate headquarters in the film the company created by Newton Knight contained about 250 men including runaway slaves who just don’t have much to lose (FOOTNOTE TFSOJ). Many of those who ended up fighting along side the unionists were already commissioned to death, held little to no rights, or had very little to lose in a sense of property, it is assumed they would die for their cause while actively pressing for their statement to be seen and heard.
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