• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent had black Americans achieved equal civil rights by 1945?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent had black Americans achieved equal civil rights by 1945? In 1776 the white American colonists demanded freedom from British rule in their Declaration of Independence. However few slave owners recognized the contradiction between the ideas of freedom and the fact of slavery. In 1783 this was recognized, and Americas had to establish their own form of government for the 13 ex-colonies or states. Delegates from the states discussed a new constitution. The issue of black slaves was debated. The southern states wanted their black slaves to count as human beings for the purposes of representation, so that although the slaves could not vote, the South would never the less have the maximum number of representatives in Congress. However, southerners were not prepared to pay more taxes for the slaves to have the right of being human. The dilemma resulted in the three-fifths compromise; this stated that five slaves were equal to three free persons for the purposes of taxation and legislative representation in Congress. The new America Constitution thus enshrined the inferiority of black slaves, and ensured the continuation of the slave trade until 1808. ...read more.

Middle

In the North conditions were better than the South but they were far from ideal. In some places blacks were allowed to vote freely. However, Northerners were general unwilling to give African Americans the vote unless they could be sure that they would vote the 'right' way. Many northern communities had laws prohibiting discrimination in public places but these laws were not always enforced and discrimination was common. The courts of the United States did nothing to block these developments. In the 1896 Plessy Vs. Ferguson decision, the Supreme Court confirmed that segregation did not violate the14th amendment as long as 'separate facilities were equal'. By 1930 black activism had increased and was better organized but activists were still a minority and it took the New Deal to bring about more dramatic change. In 1933 Roosevelt began a hitherto unprecedented programme of government intervention to stimulate the economy and help the poor. Before 1933 the federal government had appeared uninterested in black affairs. Now the New Deal programmes helped the blacks by providing jobs and housing. Although it benefited large amounts of people, it also discriminated and tended to help only a select few. ...read more.

Conclusion

Voters were required to pay poll taxes, which blacks could not afford. Voting districts were drawn n such a way that black votes were minimised. Voters were also required to sit literacy tests and also demonstrate that they owned property. These requirements were imposed and interpreted in such a way that African-Americans were often disqualified from voting. Another major requirement implemented by the state governments were the Grandfather clauses. The voter had to demonstrate that their grandfather had been a freeman if they were allowed to vote. Most, if not all could not do this. Blacks had a very different experience of life depending on whether they lived in the North or the South of America. In 1900 blacks constituted an economic and social under class throughout America, but particularly in the South where they lacked any political power. Blacks lacked nationally known and recognised organisations and leaders, apart from Booker T. Washington. By 1945 there had been a clear and dramatic increase in black consciousness and activism. Although segregation and political inequality remained in the South, Southern white supremacy was being slowly ebbed away by a series of legal decisions. M. Fell Page 1 5/1/2007 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE USA 1941-80 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE USA 1941-80 essays

  1. Blacks were substantially better off in 1877 than they had been in 1863.' How ...

    Even the Democratic Party found a way to segregate Blacks even further. Their propaganda was very successful that they turned the poorer whites against the Black population. They were competition for the lower paid jobs and so the poorer whites decided to side with the Planter classes; this gave the Democratic Party more votes.

  2. To what extent did black Civil Rights improve in the years between 1863-1877?

    During the Reconstruction years of 1863-65, a considerable proportion of blacks occupied several Deep South governments. In Louisiana, for example, African-Americans made up 42% of the lower- and 19%- of the upper houses. However, these numbers do not accurately reflect the influence wielded by blacks in this period.

  1. Civil Rights in America 50s & 60s

    Four of the states still had not integrated any black pupils and the highest percentage of black pupils getting an education with white pupils was a very small 1.42% in Texas, with the numbers dropping back to just 0.004% in Louisiana.

  2. In conclusion, black Americans remain loyal to the Democrat party as they are being ...

    Roosevelt also appointed several blacks to his administration. Among these were Robert C. Weaver, an adviser in several agencies, and Bethune, who was director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration. Two other elections, one in 1960 and another in1964, also helped he Democrats gain support from black voters, both elections took place during the civil rights movement.

  1. How united were African Americans in the struggle for Civil Rights in the period ...

    The main differences between these two groups of African-Americans were their aims in the civil rights struggle. The more influential blacks and mainly those in the North wanted equal rights for blacks and whites. In contrast, the masses and mostly blacks that lived in the South wanted their own farming land.

  2. Explain to what extent the problems facing black communities had been overcome by federal ...

    Schools near Slums will have mainly black students and vice versa for schools close to white housing. Also this ruling has no legal impact on in crow system, as there is still segregation in every other area. A year later the Montgomery bus boycott began, Where blacks fought for the

  1. The USA 1941 - 80 : The Divided Union.

    Ralph Abernathy * King and others held nightly meeting to keep up morale amongst the local black population. * The bus boycott was a huge success. Local black people used car-sharing to beat the boycott. * The bus company lost 65% of its income in nine months.

  2. Describe the main ways in which blacks felt themselves discriminated against in the United ...

    They did this by lynching, torturing and horrifically murdering innocent blacks (burning alive and hanging for example) to show their superiority. An example of this is the death of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy who was brutally murdered for whistling at a white girl.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work