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The political effects of slavery

The American Revolution refers to a time when political upheavals characterized America in the second half of the 18th century. This happened as thirteen colonies within North America made abnegations on Britain with an intent of becoming autonomous states of the US. Therefore, the Post Revolutionary age for America refers to the period from 1775 to 1783. It is obvious that the concept of slavery has also been undergoing a metamorphosis from a time when slavery was deemed as a practice so legit.

The concept of slavery and that of the American politics are elements that have continued to affect each other. This paper therefore takes to address some of the changes that have been brought about by the concept and practice of slavery on the US political front. In the first place, slavery and its consequences brought about the need to ensure its abolition. For the US, this meant that a lot of treatises had to be made to the Head of State by members of the Congress and/ or the Senate for its abolition, whereas a small minority expressed sympathy towards it.

For instance, Senator Beveridge Albert in the first session of the 56th Congress sitting expressed sentiments that seemed to espouse slavery. Senator Beveridge pointed out in this sitting that it was America that had been chosen by the Supreme Being as the custodians of all the socio-political and economic units that cut across all the expanse of the world. According to Joseph (2003), the above situation happened during the time the Union was anticipating quasi-military antics so as to bring the Philippines and Pacific under its domain, and to seize the large Chinese market.

To Senator Beveridge, America is the power that rules the world, and as such, in its attempt to conquer the Philippines and the vast numbers of opportunities in the Orient, should not whimper like slaves whose minds are filled with the regrets of souls vanquished by sorrows. Nevertheless, there are cases whereby; a fraction thought that it was inconsistent of the American state to acknowledge God and human virtues on the one hand, while on the other hand, practicing dirty politics of domination but bereft of equality, justice and fairness.

Even the Quakers who waxed very polemic against the cause of slavery birthed speakers such as Angelica Grimke (1805-1979) into appealing for the total abolition of slavery. To Angelica, powers to ratify changes were vested on the commoner, as opposed to the great men, the police or the church. Angelica argued convincingly that it was by the implementation of antislavery policies in the South, that ameliorations would be realized in the North. Samuel and Parker (2005) maintain that it was in the above conditions that political practices began to be questioned and challenged.

For instance, since it was this God who vested power on America who also created all men, then it goes well that this God being impartial, intends that all men be counted as equal in any geographical expanse. Likewise, there began to be the rooting for laws that related to the ballot box. It was against this backdrop that the need to institute the law of Universal Suffrage was debated and consequently established in 1792 (Wendy and Thomas 2001). Perhaps, one of the positive hallmarks that the war against slavery posed is that it played a pivotal role in the institutionalization of the 13th and 14th Amendments, respectively.

This is because the former is the American constitutional provision that totally proscribed slavery, whereas the latter was brought into force so as to safeguard all the contents in the 13th Amendments. Apart from the fact that the Thirteenth Amendments totally banned slavery, the use of involuntary labor services was also banned. The only exception here is when this was being done in punishment of a crime. The Thirteenth Amendment shaped the political landscape in diverse ways.

In the first case, this Amendment was declared a proclamation by William Seward who was the secretary of the state, and as such, proscribed slavery in all states with Kentucky, Delaware, and Missouri being the exceptions. The abolition of slavery by the 13th Amendments espoused totally the ideals of Emancipation Proclamations that were put in place by Abraham Lincoln. However, the ideals in Emancipation Proclamations became more or less of political bargaining chips as they came to be deemed as makeshift war measures. Therefore, despite the emancipation of slaves, slavery still remained a legitimate affair.

The supporting of the Amendment was therefore a guarantee of the total and actual abolition of the use of slaves as a means of realizing labor. The importance of the 13th Amendments became astute so that anyone seen to be against them had slim chances of wining any political seat (Michael and Humphrey 2002). One of the aftereffects of slavery is that apart from the institution of the 13th Amendments, there arose a direct need to institute a measure that would ensure the posterity of the 13th Amendments- even the 14th Amendments. It is these 14th Amendments that radically changed the spectrum of the US politics.

One of the ways in which the 14th Amendments changed US politics is that it gave persons naturalized or sired in the US land, the status of citizenship. In addition to the above, the amendment maintained that America was under one law, and as such were equal before this law. At the same time, it is this 14th amendment that acknowledges proper, the actual rights of each and every citizen of the US. According to Walter (1999), this changed the US politics and government since it was diametrically opposed to the Dred Scott Policy that declared that all blacks were not citizens of the US and could also not attain this status.

In another front, since these amendments acknowledged the legitimacy of persons to have: their own conscience, beliefs and ideals; to intermingle and associate freely; it is no doubt that the threshold for the cause of democracy was widened in the United States. It is perhaps because of these challenges that US, apart from the UK and Canada, stands as a perfect example of democracy. It is courtesy of these rights that people like Malcolm X. and Martin Luther began to advocate for the political quest of the African Americans. Conclusion

There would be no lucidity in surmising that slavery and the struggle against it has wrought changes on the socio-political fronts alone. This is because the 13th and 14th Amendments that came about as a counter to slavery also brought about economic empowerment. For instance, the 14th Amendment stated that it was possible for one to negotiate employment terms regardless of race, and also without interference from the government. This also comes in the wake of the fact that the 14th Amendments acknowledged the rights of the former slaves to own property.

References Joseph, C. (2003). From slavery to America: The rise of America. Michigan: Michigan University Press. Michael, M. and Humphrey, H. (2002). Slavery and Its Abolition. Oxford: OUP. Samuel, P. and Parker, I. (2005). The Political Impact of the 13th and the 14th Amendments. New York: Buttersworth Press. Walter, P. (1999). From Slavery to the Fourteenth Amendments. New York: McGraw Hill. Wendy, T. and Thomas, P. (2001). A Historical Look at the US: Crusades against Slavery. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

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