Former Slaves During The Civil War Essay

The Civil War was a time of great change for many people, especially people who had been slaves before the war. They were finally free and required the help of the American government to adjust and get started in their new lives as free men and women. Although they received their freedom, they did not receive enough help from the American government in the aftermath of the Civil War for it to be as revolutionary as it could have been

In fact, they received almost no help from the United States government. To support that argument, this paper will be presenting various points on how the former slaves were not given all the support that they could have been given. It will explain the circumstances behind each point and touch on why former slaves…

During the war, the American government promised former slaves 40 acres and a mule. Coastal areas and space on the Sea Islands were set aside for black settlement. This gave the former slaves hope and fulfillment, they anticipated that they would be fairly paid for the injustices done against them. Many took up residence in these areas, but then the previous owners began to returned. President Andrew Johnson was lenient, and refused to confiscate land from any previous owners that had abandoned their land, and in return had no land to be given to the former slave population. As a result, the former slaves ended up landless and did not hold the land they were given long enough to make enough to start a life of their own. Without any money, the former slaves often went back to the only thing they knew how to do, farming. Systems such as sharecropping and tenant farming emerged as one of the main job options for former slaves. Sharecropping was the practice where a worker or tenant would use a portion of the landowners land and grow crops, in return, they would pay the landowner rent or a portion of their crops, hence the term sharecropping. This process allowed the former slaves more freedom than slavery because they chose their own crops, the hours they worked, and who worked in the field. That freedom was undermined though by the fact that many people in this business fell so far into debt that it was an endless cycle and they were unable to change work or move. It was like this in various jobs former slaves worked in, they were low paying and the former slaves would usually end up with harder jobs because not many employees would hire them to work other than domestic and unwanted jobs. With no other way to get started and no pensions, they had no other prospects. Some freedmen, or former slaves, even started groups, petitions and movement to achieve the pensions they believed they rightfully deserved….