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In the painting, Virginian Luxuries (Unknown, 1800), it is possible to observe and describe the roles of those two man races in the U.S. at the time. First off, the painting is in reference to the time of slavery (1619-1865) and the inequality of positions between the blacks and whites. Second off, we can appreciate the gender role. For instance, the Black men who worked in crop fields were being used and deprived of their human rights by the slave/land owner. In the case of the woman, she is used to satisfy her owner it seems to be. Finally, we can observe that the artist painted the white men’s face with detail, yet the black men and women’s faces appear unidentifiable or characterless. This is a representation of the European view towards black slaves, and how they thought of them as a uniform object or animal.
Alexis Toqueville in his publication the “Democracy in America” categorized three races predominated in the 1835 America. The first race is the European or white race which is the head in the economic, social and political structure. Toqueville affirmed on base of his observation that “[European] the superior intelligence in power, and enjoyment is the white” (216). Furthermore, the other two races are different in their essence, origin, traditions, and perception towards whites; however, both have been oppressed and shared a subordinate position in the society. Those two races have been the Negros and the Native American. Even though the two races had undergone oppression and abuse, the abuse itself had slight variation from each other. For instance, Toqueville affirmed in reference of whites “when he cannot subdue, he can destroy” (217). In the Negros’ case, their oppression was marked by their loss of freedom.
First, blacks were taken from their cultures forgetting their birth language, tradition and origin. Second, by losing their rights to be human, Negros and their future generation’s destiny was marked before they were seen into existence. Also, violated, yet they loved and admired their victimizer and repelled their own nature, avoiding everything associated to it. On the other hand, the Native American were different from the african slaves, because they never surrendered to the European, but it costed them peace on their land. As Toqueville observed “The Indian, on the contrary, has his imagination inflated with the pretended nobility of his origin, and life and die in the midst of these dreams of pride” (218).
Toqueville predicted the future of these three races. For the Native Americans, Toqueville predicted that they were destined to disappear. In order to survive, they must have to be civilized or have started a battle where one of the two races would experience extinction. In addition, Toqueville predicted that they will be isolated by the whites.For the Negros, he predicted the racial mix will expand african race all over the nation.
Also, they will be more aware of their rights and violence will ensue between the two races. In addition, slavery will be passed from one generation to another, remaining shame and disgrace to the Black race and hate to the white. Finally, Toqueville suggested the intermingling of those two races, otherwise, the isolation of the Negros will bring a conflict where only one race will survive. Finally, Toqueville expected “white citizens of the United States proud of his race” (219). However, he mentioned that north has to include those races by abolishing slavery, otherwise, the south will never be included in the equality of the races or of the union itself.Toqueville’s predictions were not all irrational.
First, as Toqueville predicted Indians were to end up isolated, now Native Americans are most heavily located in the 326 Indian reservations in the United States. Second, it was stated that Black Americans were to become free, but they would be marked by blood and sadness. And the white American citizens would be a proud nation with an enormous diversity in cultures living in a land of freedom. The accuracy of his predictions werent 100%, but it is obvious Toqueville had a foresight of the future. That is one factor to why he is still studied today. In the painting, The Discord (Heppenheimer, 1855) are three debates of power.
The first side is a woman pulling a pair of pants, which represents equality of rights, which before 1848 were just attributed and ruled by men’s favor, and women were treated such as an object. On the women’s side, the two women and little girl represented the women who had fought, will fight and who were fighting to be in an equal position in society. The little girl represents the importance of fighting for those rights, because her knowledge will pass to the next generations the importance of freedom. On the other side are the men prohibiting women to become free. They do this by relegating her to lower positions in society, minimizing her voice in public decisions and taking away the opportunity to be educated.
Finally, the last relationship of power is God’s will. In this part God projects his voice in the direction of women by saying “Hold fast”, and the voice also is projected to men’s side by saying “Keep your hold” which advocated that both genders have the right to keep the pants, but his desires has been used in contrast by both sexes. It begs the question as to which sex has God on their side. In the Declaration of Sentiments, several commonly accepted principles are challenged from a gender perspective. This helps to challenge the commonly held belief that men are above women. It was important to emphasize that men and women were equal at this time. At this time, the commonly held belief was that men were superior to women. Changing the tradition took some time since it takes time to change the concepts that people hold dearly. Men and women are treated as equal beings. This was huge progress with regards to the treatment of gender equality, considering so many people held the past social ideologys to be true . Abraham Lincoln was a significant piece of authority in the abolitionist movement. In his speeches prior to presidency, he urged for the abolition of slavery.
In the Peoria Speech (Lincoln, 1854) Lincoln was speaking on how slavery needed to be abolished. He pointed out that he recognized that the southerners had not introduced slavery. He gave them credit by saying that the current generation of southerners would not have introduced slavery. He believed, however, the fact that the current generation of southerners had not introduced slavery did not mean they could not stop it. He believed it was their responsibility to do away with it. To drive his point home, he emphasized that he held no ill motive against the southerners and he believed that both the southern and northern people were equal.
In Lincoln’s (1858) debate with Stephen Douglas, he revisits the issue of slavery. Douglas believed in conserving slavery while Lincoln was for its abolition. Douglas tries to paint the abolitionists like Lincoln as believing that blacks were equal to white men. This was an emotive issue at the time since the Caucasians belonged to a society that had been socialized to believe that they were the superior race. Therefore, any person who suggested that the Caucasians were equal to the black race was treated with suspicion. Given that this was a political campaign for the Illinois political seat, it was important that any candidate get the support of the majority. The majority believed that the Caucasians were a superior race to all other races. Lincoln, being among those who believed in racial equality, would lose support. Lincoln understood this and chose to solely argue the issue of inhumanity in slavery. He argued that slavery was an unjust system that should not be allowed to stand in the country.
In analyzing the context in which the two speeches were given, I believe that Lincoln was playing politics. He was on the campaign trail and needed to win as many votes as he could. When he got these votes and got into office, he would have the ability to legislate policy that would bring about equality. I think that Lincoln decided that he needed to win the support of the abolitionists while still maintaining the support of those who were against racial equality. Advocating for abolition while maintaining his stand against racial equality allowed him to reach some political compromise that would help win political office and achieve more changes. The Civil War arose out of the southern desire to secede from the union after Abraham Lincoln appointed to presidency. These states believed that the new administration would abolish slavery. Therefore, these states issued a declaration of secession.
However, the federal government resisted these efforts and fought to preserve the union. This led to the Civil War that resulted in the federal government winning and preserving the union. The end of the Civil War meant the government had successfully managed to end slavery in the southern states. This was achieved legally through the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. However, the issue of slavery was still vague at the national level. Therefore, there was a need to abolish slavery nationally. The individual states were required to have anti-slavery clauses in their constitutions, however, the problem arose in that the states could choose to reinstate the slavery clauses. To deal with the questions of liberty and equality, three amendments commonly referred to as the Reconstruction amendments were passed.The 13th amendment was passed and ratified in 1865 and it sought to completely abolish slavery in the United States. This would seal any loopholes that existed in the individual state constitutions. All the southern states that had been part of the Confederacy were required to ratify this amendment before they could be readmitted to the union.
The 14th amendment was passed in 1866 and ratified in 1868. It gave citizenship to all people born in the United States. It also recognized citizenship for naturalized Americans including those of African descent. This meant that all American citizens, even former slaves, were equal in the eyes of the law and were to be extended the same protection as white citizens. The act further prevented the southern states from issuing compensation to former slave owners for emancipating slaves. The 15th amendment sought to ensure that all citizens had a right to vote. Some of the state governments had been denying citizens the right to vote based on skin color and the fact that they were former slaves. This amendment sought to ensure that all citizens in the country had a right to vote in spite of their skin color or the fact that they were former slaves.These reconstruction amendments were instrumental in ensuring the former slaves had some level of quality in the United States.
However, there were still some loopholes that were in these amendments. For instance, the 15th amendment allowed for the individual states to put conditions on those citizens who qualified to vote. Some of the states put literacy tests and the ability to pay poll tax as some of the conditions for voting. This disenfranchised many black voters that were poor. Therefore, while these laws were significant in bringing about legal equality, there were still some issues with race relations in the 1870s. These challenges persisted till the 20th century with the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s.
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