Legalizing Segregation in the United States

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Segregation was legalized as a result of the previous factors that limited black people, the period of European enslavement and the subsequent Black Codes. Slavery was the kidnapping of Africans from their continent, stripping them of their identities, forcing them to submit to European control and abuse, and establishing a system where the African people were considered less than human. Slavery began in the United States in the 1600s.

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It was formally abolished in 1865 with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution (with the exception of those held in prisons). The Black Codes were a system of laws created by southern states to suppress black freedoms. They provided a way to establish control specifically over the black community that would limit their ability to utilize their granted freedoms in the United States. The Black Codes were created in 1865 after the end of the Civil War. Reconstruction removed the laws in 1866.

Reconstruction was the process of rebuilding the destroyed South, assimilating black people into society, and trying to unify the Nation. Reconstruction was led under President Andrew Johnson. During the period Johnson pardoned all white Southerners that took an oath under the union. He allowed Southerners to rebuild their own governments. This resulted in many of the same people that disagreed with black freedom holding positions of power. The South’s formation made it easy for white people to limit black people in the workplace, with owning land, and with political participation. Some progression was still made in this time period largely due to the presence of radical republicans that fought for black rights through the Reconstruction Act.

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