The Rights of African Americans: Redefined from 1754 to 1865
The rights include the collection of privileges awarded to an individual either by an arrangement between themselves or by the authority. Between 1754 and 1865, the redefinition of privileges of the Afro-Americans happened and led to the expansion and implementation of rules and policies which affected their lives for the better and made them more pleasant and appreciated as contrasted to the state before the commencement of the time. Following the development in America, there was a requirement to come up with the most suitable policies which could be applied in protecting the rights of every citizen of the United States of America, including the African Americans. The most important development that took place in the lives of the African American between this periods was the development of policies and laws that prohibited slavery. This paper will, therefore, discuss how the rights of the African Americans were redefined between the period of 1754 and 1865 for the better.
Unit 1, Document 4
In this document, enlightenment philosophers (John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu) were able to positively promote the rights of the African Americans during the American Revolution of 1765-1783. The rights of everyone in the United States of America were firmly naturally protected and hence there was not need to treat some people as being superior while others as being inferior. According to John Locke, every person had natural rights and if the monarchs and other leaders violate these rights, then they (the people) had the absolute right to overthrow those monarchs. Based on the argument of Baron de Montesquieu, there was the need to clearly define and limit the powers of the government. This was an absolute criterion for ensuring that the rights of the African Americans and other people are respected and protected.
Unit 2, Document 4
Even though the liberation of the United States from Great Britain was achieved during the American Revolution, the Federalists believed that the liberty of the US depended on the guaranteed individual rights. This was based on the fact that the leaders were chosen from the Whites as opposed to the African American population which formed the largest population percentage of the United States. In that case, there was the need for the development of more inclusive laws that provided the African Americans with the leadership roles in the government of the United States of America. On the other hand, the antifederalists argued that a strong central government, made up of elected officials, would be able to act in the best interest of all of the students. The arguments by the Federalists was a clear gesture that there was an urgent need to redefine the rights of the African Americans following the development of a new American Republic.
Unit 3, Document 1
1839, Morning News by John O'Sullivan was a substantial evidence which supported the fact that the rights of the African Americans were redefined for the better. According to John O'Sullivan, there was the need to provide the African Americans with the necessary freedoms and rights which would, in turn, enable them to develop themselves for their better future. In deed this was a substantial argument since following the implementation of policies and laws that prohibited slavery and allowed for an all-inclusive government, there was an increased number of African American who were effectively able to liberate themselves as well as other minorities in the United States of America. He further stressed on this issue when he categorically stated that "the American claim is by right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and our democratic government entrusted to us."
Unit 4, Document 6
The expression by Abraham Lincoln which stated that "A house divided against itself cannot stand" was a clear indication that he was against any efforts to hinder the already set aside policies and laws to deal with the issues related to the slave trade. Abraham Lincoln pushed for constitutional amendments and implementations that were able to promote ultimate unity among the African Americans and the Whites in the United States of America, therefore, ensuring that the proposed abolition of the slave trade was significantly achieved. More importantly, the push by Abraham Lincoln to have equal opportunity for everyone in the United States of America was proven when he categorically stated that "I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved- I do not expect the house to fall-but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other."
Outside Source, the Three-Fifths Compromise
The enactment of the Three-Fifths Compromise was achieved on 1787, this was made possible after the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia were able to accept the plan aimed at determining the state representation in the United States of America. Following the enactment of the Three-Fifths Compromise, there was a guarantee that the Southerners would be strongly represented in the House of Representatives and therefore they would have disproportionate power in electing the Presidents. Even though this approach helped in providing the necessary solution to the problem related to the representation of the states, it still led to the development of another serious problem. This was based on the fact that the Southern States which had the largest number of slaves wanted the slaves to be included in the population count, which could be used in the determination of the number of representatives in the house. Contrary to this, the Northern delegates discarded this idea since they had few number of slaves in their population. At long last, there was the agreement that 3/5 of the state's slaves would be included in the population count.
Outside Source, 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
This was a very important amendment in the lives of the African Americans since it ensured that their rights were respected and protected by the constitution through the abolition of the slave trade. The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declared that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for the crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States of America, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction." To ensure that there was a complete implementation of the abolishing of slave trade within the borders of the United States of America, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the Congress on 31st January 1865 and sanctioned by the federal government on 6th December 1865.
The redefinition of the rights of the African Americans was a very important move which ensured that their rights and freedoms are protected both by the natural laws and the constitution of the United States of America. Even though it was not a walk in the park during the process of redefining these rights, many great leaders and other stakeholders in the community were able to make the whole process to be a success. One of the biggest achievement which was managed by this initiative was the fact that there was a reduced number, if not complete abolition, of slavery in the United States of America.
"13Th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery." National Archives, 1865, https://www.archives.gov/historical-docs/13th-amendment.
"The "Three-Fifths" Compromise | African American Registry." Aaregistry.Org, 1787, http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/three-fifths-compromise.
"Unit 1, Document 4." The Enlightenment Thinkers.
"Unit 2, Document 4." Anti-Federalist vs. Federalist, 1788.
"Unit 3, Document 1." 1839: Morning News, 1839.
"Unit 4, Document 6." Abraham Lincoln, "A House Divided," Delivered At Springfield, Illinois, June 16, 1858, 1858.