History: African Americans

Revision cards on important individuals, acts, laws and the general movement of African Americans from the 19th to the 20th century

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Abraham Lincoln and Emancipation Proclamation

Abraham Lincoln:

  • 16th president (1861-1865)
  • Disapproved of slavery
  • Opposed to pro-slavery Kansas Act (1854) - declared his opposition in his Oct 16th 1854 speech
  • Issued the Emacipation Proclamation (effective from 1st Jan 1863)
  • Assasinated during his movement

Emancipation Proclamation: Gave freedom to slaves in the South (the South was a rebelious state), slaves in states that were loyal to the Union were not freed. EP was seen as a military and political tactic.

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End of the Civil War

In 1865 the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment meant that all slaves were formally freed. The Amendment was passed days before the formal ending of the Civil War in April 9th 1865.

This was the first major turning point for African Americans.It led to the thoughts of securing a better life and provided them with very very basic human rights.African Americans could now:

  • Have their plantation marriages legalised
  • worship freely
  • own property
  • become educated
  • travel freely

However, this was more of a de jure* theory, whether it was a de facto** is questionable. Unleashing three and a half million slaves into society did not change the traditional views of the white Americans and did not lead to automatic acceptance.

*De jure :official positiion in law

**De facto: actual position in reality

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How far had African Americans acheived civil right

  1. 13th Amendment: All slaves in the country freed
  2. Basic human rights issued for equality between race and gender
  3. Emancipation Proclamation = black slaves have the choice of where and when to work
  4. Reconstruction period = rebeilding of the US after the Civil War
  5. 14th Amendment :Gave all freed black men citizenship and equal protection
  6. Civil rights Act of 1866: All races in US (apart from Native Americans) were full American
  7. Radical republicans felt that reconstruction should be led from the North in favour of African American enfranchisement 
  8. Enfranchised : given the right to vote
  9. Freedmens Bureau: set up in  1865 to support freed slaves
  10. Slaughterhouse Case outcome: Rights of citezens should remain under state law
  11. Black codes: banded inter-racial marriages, not permitted to vote, etc...
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