How Did African Americans Change From 1865 To 1905 Dbq Essay

The lives of African Americans in the South during 1865 to 1905 changed immensely due to the mindset of the South in the political, economic, and social spheres of life. To begin, in politics, the policies regarding the African American citizens who always changing. Immediately after the conclusion of the Civil War, President Johnson passed a series of laws called the Black Codes that restricted the rights of the newly freed citizens. The African Americans had very similar conditions to those prior to the Civil War.

“Every Negro is required to be in the regular service of some white person… ho shall be held responsible for the conduct of said Negro,”(Document 2). Similar laws were created until the Radical Republicans took control of the reform and started a period called the Reconstruction era. During Reconstruction, which lasted from 1865 to 1877, the rights of the blacks expanded. Measures were taken to integrate this group into society. For example, the Civil Rights Act gave African Americans equality before the law. Also, the creation of the Freedmen’s Bureau helped the African Americans acquire land and build up their wealth. Thaddeus Stevens gave a speech promoting the passage of these laws.

He stated, “If we do not furnish them with homesteads, and hedge them around with protective laws… We had better have left them in bondage,”(Document 1). The African Americans were also finally given a voice in the government. Starting in 1869 and ending in 1887, there was always an African American in a house seat. (Document 3). Also, the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment protected the African American man’s right to vote. Unfortunately, this era eventually ended. Reconstruction ended with the Compromise of 1877, which stopped the national government’s efforts in reconstruction.

The conditions in the South were restored to what they were prior to the Civil War. Several Jim Crow laws were passed that separated the whites and African Americans in public facilities. After 1887, African Americans were not present in the Congress for a very long time (Document 3). It w helpful to have a document that showed the decision-making of the Compromise of 1877 to expand and better the argument. To conclude, the political conditions of African Americans improved during Reconstruction, but they regressed after the Compromise of 1877.

On the social side of the lives of the African Americans in the South, their conditions remained unsatisfactory throughout this entire period. First off, the Ku Klux Klan, or the KKK, emerged during Reconstruction to stop any efforts of making African Americans equal members of society. They would threaten all member of society, including whites, who wanted to improve the conditions of the African Americans. A testimony by an African American woman named Lucy McMillan against the KKK gave evidence to the KKK’s tactics. “All the Ku Klux said all they had against me was that I was bragging and boasting that I wanted the land,” (Document 4).

The KKK was not the only obstacle for the African Americans. There were laws in place that segregated public facilities and clearly gave the white population an advantage. African American children attended poorly funded schools and were not given a proper education to be able to compete with the white children for jobs. The children did not have the right materials for learning and inadequate facilities to learn in. William Sinclair, a former slave, states, “… for lack of room indoors, sessions were held out-of-doors under the oak and elm trees,” (Document 7).

Not only were the schools segregated, but so were the neighborhoods. Black families lived in close, rundown quarters while the white population lived in cleaner and nicer areas. African Americans were also looked down upon by society and were not given as many opportunities. In summary, the social aspect of life did not improve for African Americans from 1865 to 1905. Lastly, the economy for the African Americans in the South during 1865 to 1905 remained the same. They did not have many economic opportunities because they were not welcome in white collared jobs.

This means they were forced to take lowpaying jobs without a prospect of getting a promotion. They were also threatened if they had intentions of selfimprovement. Ida B. Wells recalled, “… the Negro is practically disfranchised through intimidation,” (Document 6). To add on, the Freedmen’s Bureau did not end up working because the former slaves ended up working on their previous masters land as sharecroppers. Sharecropping involved a landowner to rent the land to a farmer in exchange for a portion of the profits created through the production of the crops.

The conditions mirrored those experienced before the Civil War. Henry Blake, an African American farmer, recalled, “When we worked on shares, we couldn’t make nothing, just overalls and something to eat,” (Document 5). The African Americans had an unfair disadvantage due to the lack of economic prospects available to them. Overall, the economic lives of African Americans did not change throughout this period. Ultimately, during the time period of 1865 to 1905, the conditions of the lives of African Americans changed during the beginning of the period, but eventually returned to their previous state.