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African-Americans Claimed Rights after Slave Trade Abolition
Historically, human rights were and are still weighed in a moving context in the American Society. Lincoln was a very instrumental figure and exemplar in the fight to abolish slave trade. Following the abolition of slave trade in most states in the United States of America, race prejudice seemed to be very strong. This forced the African-Americans to further fight for their rights such as to marry whites, cast their votes, sit on juries and file lawsuits. Moreover, in areas where the rights were extended by law, the whites still did not allow it to ensue. Some of the rights that the African-Americans fought for included: being enlisted in the Union Army, right to full legal equity, women’s rights, and the right to marry a person of their choice (Henry 219). This essay highlights some of the rights claimed by the African-Americans following the abolition of slave trade in America.
Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were very instrumental in advocating for the abolition of slave trade. They fought tirelessly to ensure that slave trade was abolished. In the efforts in time of the Civil War, Frederick Douglass requested Lincoln to cancel slave trade and also to fight for the African-Americans’ right to join the Union Army. After succeeding in making the African-Americans join the Union Army, Douglass then aided in recruiting soldiers of African-American origin. During this period he decided to write an editorial that was popularly known as “Men of Color, To Arms.” This editorial became the enlisting poster (Douglass 1). David (220) asserts that after the Civil War, Douglass was committed to continue his fight diligently for the African-Americans to gain absolute equality of legal rights. He made it clear that was to be supported by the ballot power and in order to achieve this he garnered support for the Fifteenth and Fourteenth Amendments passages. He saw the need to lecture people to allow for the adoption of the two important Amendments. Later on, he made it clear that he was against the African-Americans lynching. It, therefore, became clear that slaver acted as a hindrance to various human rights. The slave trade abolishment augmented the fight in order to achieve the best in terms of right to vote, rights of women, right of being included in the Army Unions, and the right to marry white or black. As an inhuman act, many Americans opposed the move to abolish slave trade, since they belittled Africans. However, Frederick Douglass was on the forefront of the fight to ensure that the African-Americans got better treatments which they deserved.
Another area that the African-Americans fought for was the right of women. In 1848, women were represented and participated in the Women’s Right Convention held in Seneca Falls. However, there were complaints that after the signing of the Declaration of Sentiments, resolution requiring women voting right was passed through the Convention. In July 28, 1848, Douglass decided to publish a positive editorial entitled “The Right of Women”. This led to a number of African-American activists to advocate for the women emancipation from various artificial disabilities that were imposed by false customs, unethical demands, codes and creeds. As a result of these false customs, Douglass signed a document “The Just and Equal Rights of Women”, that was aimed at calling for a resolution of the Women’s Rights State Convention in Rochester (Blake 18). After the passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments a number of controversies emerged as some of the activists did not want to be supportive of the Fifteenth Amendment because of women exclusion.
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On the contrary, Douglass believed that it was equally essential to promote the right of African-American men before achieving the women’s rights. However, right after the Fifteenth Amendment approving, Douglass resumed to fight for the women’s rights as he had promised. As a result, he proposed amendments that allowed women to vote, and in support of such a move he wrote a leading article supporting women’s right to vote known as “Women and the Ballot”. It was published in October 1870. In the late 1870s, the fight for women’s rights continued and the National Women Suffrage Association (NWSA) held the first celebration of Women’s Rights Convention in Washington D.C. The fight continued and it became clear that people were allowed to marry women of their choice regardless of the creed or race. There were no legal impediments for women to exercise their rights (Blake 19).
In conclusion, all historians will agree that the fight for human rights by both Americans and the African-Americans faced many obstacles. The most challenging was the political powers. Many Americans rejected the efforts against slavery and following its abolition, the African-Americans had to fight through various organizations to allow the abridgement of common humanity. Some of the rights that the African-Americans fought for included: being enlisted in the Army Union, right to full legal equity, rights of women, and the right to marry whom they choose. As much as Africans lacked the space for freedom, it is evident that after the slave trade was abolished, the language of equal rights became more influential. However, when Lincoln’s racial views were scrutinized, his historical reputation suffered and therefore Douglass had to assist him through providing prompt advice. The efforts and adoption of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments greatly contributed to the success of the African-American’s representation and participation in various areas (Douglass 1).
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