African-Americans yearned for the same freedoms that Whites were so easily given. They fought and died in order to go from a slave to a freed man. However, once they fought in the Revolutionary War the CEQ al rights they had anticipated would be given to them, were not. Leaders in the South felt that the new government was corrupt and favored blacks. The reconstruction period never occurred because white southerners needed blacks for their labor force and did not want to see them having the same equal rights they ad like, voting, holding office and enjoying equality before the law. Fonder) The only thing that African-Americans were left with was sharecropping. The freed blacks were to be given to them with accordance of Special Field Order 15 land but were denied of the land and the land was given back to its former owners. (Abram) In the book, “Voices of Freedom”, a letter that was sent to Prestidigitation from a freed African-American goes as follows, “Shall not we who are freedman and have been always true to this Union have the same rights as are enjoyed by others? Abram) Few former slaves acquired farms for themselves and most ended up working on white-owned land for a share of the crop. The Sharecropping Contract of 1866 was a contract for the Freedman to work on the land that they were once enslaved to work on for a share of land so that they could plant and raise crop on. Much time passed after the stop of the Reconstruction period and African-Americans suffered greatly with inequalities that were reoccurring like lynching . Even after African-Americans were drafted in what was one of the worst wars, World
War 1 they were still fighting for the same equal rights as whites. W. E. B. Dubos writes, “This country of ours, despite all its better souls have done and dreamed, is yet a shameful land. It lynches. And lynching is barbarism… ” (Dubos) Many blacks could not personify freedom and understand how the ways that liberty could cohabit with such brutal racial violence occurring. Dubos writes, “Make way for Democracy! We saved it in France, and by the Great Jehovah, we will save it in the united States of America or know the reason why. African-Americans had hoped that fighting in the war would aid hem in finally receiving the same equal rights as whites but would only come home to find out that there was still a battle that they had to fight at home. Hence, the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. African-Americans only wanted and have always only wanted the same opportunities as other citizens in the U. S. Have. Factory workers were another group of people seeking out the freedoms that this country claimed it offered its citizens.
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For factory workers freedom meant that they would have unions, have a decent pay and that their working hours would be shortened. As Social Darwinism was being incorporated by the business and professional class nor the government and unions could get involved with ‘the laws of contract”. “Labor contracts reconciled freedom and authority in the workplace. ” (Give Me Liberty 622-623) Workers were demanding that the government enforce an eight-hour work day but liberals felt that government involving itself would be misuse of political power and would position itself a threat to liberty.
John Mitchell a labor leader and progressive reformer writes, “[h]e is not really free who is forced to work unduly long hours and for wages so low that he cannot provide the necessities of life for himself and his family… TO have freedom a man must be free from the harrowing fear of hunger and want. ” In the Gilded Age the idea of industrial freedom and industrial democracy had come to play and it had seemed to have taken center place in the progressive era. “Progressives believed that the key to increasing industrial freedom lay in empowering workers to participate in economic decision making via strong unions. (Give Me Liberty 689) The Triangle fire along with other strikes that occurred in the U. S. Would open doors of equality for factory workers. In 191 2 The Progressive party Platform would come into play and offer social justices such as eight hour work days and a “living wage” for all workers, and social insurance for covering unemployment. John A Ryan an advocate in the progressive era writes, “The right to a living wage is derived from the right to live from the bounty of the earth [t]he absence of State intervention means the presence of insuperable obstacles to real and effective liberty. (Voices of Freedom 80-81) Factory workers were finally able to take pleasure in the extinct meaning of freedom. For women freedom was that they would share in the same equal opportunities and rights as men. Women wanted the right to vote and express themselves how they chose to. They wanted their own voice and they wanted to be heard. In the 1 90(Yes the word “feminism” had found itself in areas of politics and brought with it movements like the Birth- Control Movement. The progressive era brought upon an immense change for women and their rights.
By 1916 women were given an opportunity to vote on the war by Wilson. An activist for women named Carrie Chapman Chat knew that this was the opportunity women needed that would help them win the right to vote. Women decided to help aid in the war by selling war bonds, organizing patriotic rallies and working in war production jobs in hopes that wartime service would earn them equal rights at home. (Fonder, Safe for Democracy) Chat addressed Congress in 191 7 urging support for a constitutional amendment and said, “The world cannot be half democratic and half autocratic.
It must be all democratic or all Prussian. ” (Fonder, Safe for Democracy) Women were finally closer to the freedom they had so desperately needed. In 191 8 Congress approved the Nineteenth Amendment and in 1920 the long struggle had ended with the ratification of the Amendment. The United States became the 27th country to allow women to vote. “The Progressive Party, believing that no people can justly claim to be a true democracy which denies political rights on account of sex, pledges itself to the task of securing equal suffrage to men and women alike. By 1 920, women were working in office jobs or telephone operators only about 15 recent of women worked in domestic service.