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Civil Rights in America 1860-1992

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How far did US presidents hinder rather than help the development of African Civil rights in the period from 1865-12?

It can be said that US presidents significantly hindered rather than helped the development of African Civil Rights in the period from 1965-1912 because the Presidents after Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant did not sustain the 14th Amendment which said that African Americans were equal citizens with equal rights and the 15th Amendment stated the right to vote was not to be denied on the account of race, colour or previous conditions of servitude and loopholes allowed the southern state governments not to enforce the amendments, in which the Amendments were flawed in the fact that the southern states where able to find these loopholes and to exploit these loop holes so that the African Americans did not receive their Civil rights. A major loophole was in the 15th amendment as it did not forbid states to introduce literacy, property and educational tests for would be voters and did not guarantee all men the right to vote and did not outlaw voting discrimination on the grounds of gender and property ownership so southern states devised complex rules and imposed additional voting requirements. Therefore this enabled the southern governments to introduce black codes which included grandfather clauses, poll tax and literacy tests which denied the African Americans of their civil rights such as blacks where banned from schools and not allowed to vote and had no legal equality such as in 1865-6 500 white men where indicted by Texas courts for murdering blacks but no one was convinced. Therefore US presidents significantly hindered the development of African American civil rights by not addressing the Southern states rejection and clear denial of African Americans civil rights therefore by taking no action in trying to amend these loopholes they allowed the southern state governments to get away with not accepting African American civil rights, therefore the presidents hindered the advancement of African American civil rights as thousands of African Americans were being denied their civil rights in the south, in which the presidents took no action to stop this rejection of the amendments. It can be said the president allowed the southern state governments to get away with it due to the fact the union had only just been restored and was going though a period of reconstruction therefore had to please the south to stop another break up of the union.

However, It can be said that Presidents Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant introducing the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments significantly helped the advancement of African American civil rights in the short term because ultimately the 13th amendment freed African Americans from slavery in which they had been trapped in for years as slavery it self was abolished. African Americans gained the right to vote therefore this is very important as African Americans had never had this right before and meant thousands of blacks could vote and engage in politics and these amendments ultimately meant African Americans became full citizens of the United States of America which again they had never experienced before. Also the amendments showed the change in attitudes of the Presidents as presidents now accepted African Americans as full citizens. However these rights were soon taken away from the African Americans in south as the vote was taken away from them and segregation of schools and other services in southern states meant that although the amendments were de jure change they where not de facto. This therefore shows presidents Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant who introduced these amendments brought about change in African civil rights but only for a short amount of time as the rights they had just got were swiftly taken away by southern state governments by presidents such as President Hayes who withdrew all federal troops from southern states and allowed white supremacy to rule over the south.

In 1875 President Ulysses S. Grant introduced the 1875 Civil rights Act which aimed to help southern African Americans. It aimed at preventing discrimination in public places this was a significant advancement of African American Civil Rights as it aimed to stop segregation and make African Americans again become more equal and showed again how President Ulysses S. Grant was again trying to help African Americans gain their Civil Rights. It was Significant as he was trying to make the thousands of African Americans who had faced segregation a racial discrimination in the reconstruction period fully gain equal rights and make the amendments that had been passed years before a de facto change, this shows clearly he was trying to help the advancement of African American Civil rights by stopping discrimination which had still not been stopped even after the Amendments introduced by presidents before him. By stopping discrimination it would enable African Americans to getter better paid jobs and have the same education as white Americans which would encourage social and economic change in the African American community. However in 1877 several supreme court decisions indicated that civil rights were the responsibility of individual states not the federal government this therefore meant that the freedom the African Americans had achieved was slowly eroded in the south as the constitution had know giving southern states power over voting, education, transportation and law enforcement which enabled segregation to spread and work. Therefore US presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B Hayes had allowed the theme of southern states to dictate their own laws on Civil Rights of African Americans rather than following the federal law. Due to the fact these presidents and the federal government wanted to concentrate on the north rather than racial problems it allowed the south to continue with its black codes, segregation and lynching therefore these presidents ultimately hindered the advancement of African Civil Rights by not getting involved in the south and allowing the southern states to continue with their discrimination and clearly racist ways which can be linked to the black codes after the 13th,14th and 15th amendments which the federal government allowed the south to use.

US president Theodore Roosevelt slightly helped showed interest in African American conditions and civil rights by discussing matters with African American leader Booker T Washington and being the first Black man to be honoured of being invited to the white house, which showed him helping the development on African American civil rights as he consulted Washington on these matters. Which was the first time a president had discussed these matters with an African American which shows significant change in the attitudes of US Presidents as know other president had done this before. However he had took no action on the segregation laws developed rapidly in 1887 and 1891 by previous presidents where eight southern states introduced formal segregation of schools, trains and waiting facilities. However Roosevelt had also cut the number of African Americans in political positions and his government did not condemn lynchings or discrimination therefore he shared the same attitudes as the presidents before him therefore hindered rather than helped the advancement of African American civil rights by not solving the solution of lynchings and discrimination as he justified lynchings as a lesser crime than blacks raping white women showing how president attitudes up until 1909 continued to be the same as those before. Therefore showing US president again greatly hindering the advancement of African American Civil Rights.…...

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