Ryan Fagan U. S. History Honors Bushong 4/27/12 How did the Black Codes prevent the immediate integration of the freed black men into society? Written pages: 5 The Civil War caused many issues for American Society, from the physical separation of the southern states, to the issue of ending slavery, being the most well known, and for good reason. While the north wanted the slaves to be free, the south did not, which obviously caused Problems. This topic of free vs. slavery did not begin after the war started though, the government had dealt with many different cases and often the ended in favor of slavery.
After the Civil War the issues with slavery still existed because of the creation of Black Codes, codes that basically forced the “free” men to report to a white employer or supervisor who decided what they could and could not do freely. These are just few of many reasons that the integration of freed black men, and men of color, took almost a century after the day they were legally released to truly have their freedom. One of the many reasons that the integration of the freed men into society was not more immediate was because of the stance of the national government before the war.
The north may have not been slave states, but when it came to helping a slave in need, they were not going to be the ones to lend a hand. The Dred Scott case is a prime example of this stance. In this case a slaved argues that his owner moved from a slave state to a free state, thereby causing him to become a free citizen of society. This case was extremely controversial. While on one hand the slave made a point, the other hand caused the government to deny his request for freedom, without real rational reason.
When the government’s stance changed and Abraham Lincoln became president, the newly elected president caused the country to go to war with itself because of his public stance on slavery. This tragic event caused the south to secede from the United States and form their own government. Of course the sole issue of the south’s secession was not the loss of slavery, but also had an economic aspect as well. When the Civil War was over, it was quite obvious that the southern states still had a deep and powerful hatred for anyone of color.
This hatred, as mentioned before, is the primary reason for the southern states creating the Black Codes. Not only did the Black Codes cause issues between the southern ex-slave owners and their freed slaves, but it also caused a great number of issues in the northern states. The northern states saw these Black Codes as an unfair and cruel way of bringing back slavery. Primarily because in the southern states state government, the white legislators saw no real reason to end the inequality between the white men, and the men of color (“Constitutional rights foundation,” 2011).
Without establishing a new state of mind the governments in the southern states would continue to make these laws, leaving the federal government unable to make any real changes to ensure the well being of the men of color. This only delayed the integration of the men of color into society even longer, because the relationship between the state governments and the national governments were too fragile at this point in time to make anything positive happen. In reviewing the South Carolina Black Codes, it is clear how biased and restricted the everyday lives of the freed men were.
In order to integrate into society completely, the freed man would not only need to attempt to change the views of the white men around them, they were still required to follow the Black Codes. Rebellion could only get the freed men so far because they were not permitted to own anything that could be used as a weapon. The South Carolina Black Codes also prevented the migration of freed men to South Carolina without the approval of two South Carolina white men.
These white men, known as freeholders, were essentially the people responsible for the freed men, also known as servants, that they approved. After that the Black Codes basically permit slavery to those who take on the responsibility for the freed men. The reason that the free slaves were not able to immediately integrate in society was the Continued existence of the Black Codes. The Black Codes only promoted the previously accepted view of superiority and resulted in lasting conflicts between the races for years.
The immediate elimination of the Black Codes would have completely removed any political power that one race would have ad over the other, which in turn would have prevented the conflicts of pride and respect. An immediate overturning of the Black Codes would have also caused the issues of indirect slavery, and violations of rights given to all men by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. The overall attitude towards freed slaves would have been completely different and would have resulted in a faster change in public opinion and would have allowed the integration of the freed slaves to be much more fluid.
Work Cited Black codes and jim crow laws. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. sciway. net/afam/reconstruction/blackcodes. html Constitutional rights foundation. (2011). Retrieved from http://www. crf-usa. org/brown-v-board-50th-anniversary/southern-black-codes. html Herda, D. J. (1948). The dred scott case: Slavery and citizenship . Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc. The mississippi black code (1865). (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://wps. ablongman. com/long_longman_lahdemo_1/0,8259,1546454-,00. html
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