Fighting for Equality US History Essay
Fighting for Freedom and Equality
Most countries in the world have in one way or another experienced a number of war during their process of civilization and development. Though the cause of the war was varied, more harm than god was the end product which saw the economy being affected adversely. The fight for freedom in the United States of America has a long history. But the most memorable and the climax of the fight for their rights is the periods that the United States of America experienced an internal strive. This was called the American civil war. It happened in the year of 1861 where the southern states were against the northern states in agitating for equal representation and respect for human rights. The northerners were mainly agrarian practitioners and were using human beings, especially the African American who were slaves in the production and forced labor on their farms. Since the end of the civil war and the subsequent reconstruction which ushered in new legislation of acts. For instance the thirteenth and fourteenth amendment acts; there has been a spirited and united cry and push agitating for the improved and better conditions by various groups and personalities. Among the prominent people is the like of doctor martin Luther king junior. This paper will thus seek to compare two prominent individuals of that time. It will look at both Lincoln and Marin Luther King, how they shared some similarities and how they were different as well.
From the emancipation act enacted in order to address and try to correct the social ills against the African Americans, who were being used as a source of cheap labor in slavery by the southern states. With the legislation or the enactment of what was called the thirteenth amendment, the slaves believed to have attained freedom. According to them, the Act meant that they were free to move the soil of the American country as they wished; they had a right to civility as any American among other privileges. As time went by there were still some white Americans who were strongly opposed to the reconstruction era that was as a result of the destruction during the civil war. Notably was the organization by the white Americans in the southern states or the confederacy called the Klu Klux Klan. It was founded in 1865 by the Tennessee veterans of the confederate army. Its main purpose for the formation was to restore the supremacy of the white Americans and intimidate the implementation of the reconstruction process. They employed vicious and violent means to scuttle the reconstruction process by use of assaulting the participants, murdering and intimidating the freedmen and the white Americans who were sympathizers of the slaves (Edgy, 2006).
The Klu Klux Klan, also known simply as the Klan, was brought to a halt with the enactment of the forces act by the federal government in the year 1870 and 1871. The Klu Klux Klan was and has been used to suppress the civil rights movement. It considers what the civil rights movement terms the freedom as a misconception and is convinced by the fact that whites are more superior to the African American citizens. Although the enactment of the forces act halted the rate of attacks and intimidation, there was the second formation of the Klu Klux Klan. Their main aim was more of the same; reestablish the whit Americans supremacy. It has been in contention with the ceaseless calls for more involving approach in addressing the injustices and disregard of human rights (Luther,1958).
On the other hand, there is the civil rights movement that has seen the achievements in recognizing the human rights by the relevant authorities. The leaders of the movement had to endure the well coordinated attacks and assaults by the opposing elements for instance the Klu Klux Klan. Although the attacks have been changing from time to time and form to another, they have not managed to halt the agitation for more recognition of the human rights. These are two groups that have been determined and dedicated to their missions however divergent and uncivilized they seem to be. The earlier struggle by the rights movement was mainly aimed at the recognition of all people as the American citizens irrespective of their race, color, origin or gender. It called for the total abolition of the slave practice and the implementation of the thirteenth and fourteenth amendment acts that spelled out for the recognition of other minority groups that were marginalized as legitimate Americans (Ibid).
With the enactment of the fifteenth amendment act, the African Americans were granted the rights to vote. This was not taken kindly by many white Americans who resorted to other forms of restrictions aimed at barring the African Americans the eligibility to vote. Some of the restrictions included the introduction of the poll tax. This was a kind of tax where an individual was expected to pay before being eligible to cast a vote. Most African Americans were not able to pay the tax and thus were locked out of the polling exercise. Another aspect that was used by the oppressors was the literacy tests. This was a legal challenge to render the fifteenth amendment Act ineffective by the opposing states. The challenge did not weigh down on the civil rights proponents but it rather reenergized and made them more committed to the cause of fighting for what they considered as the social ills and malpractices.
The activities Ku Klux Klan were reduced and the rate at which they carried out their atrocities was on the decline. This was a major score and triumph on the part of the civil rights activists and proponents. Although there was a limitation in the Ku Klux Klan activities, the Klan never ceased to exist entirely. There was one event that led to the reorganizing and formation of the second Ku Klux Klan. In the year 1915, there was the release of a film titled: the birth of a nation. In the film, the atrocities that were committed by the initial and the first Ku Klux Klan were highlighted. In the film the atrocities were glorified which was taken as an inspiration that led to the formation of the second Ku Klux Klan (Lawrence, 1959).
The human rights activists and the civil rights movement was not entirely reduced in its operations. In essence, the more the group was attacked the more resolve it chose on the main cause. The architects of the human rights groups have come to pass on but their legacy and what were their visions continues to live and be operational. One of the foremost architects of the recognition of the marginalized group and an end to the slavery was President Abraham Lincoln. At the time he was campaigning for the candidature of the presidential nomination, he raised a very emotive aspect of slavery which he promised to halt. This was to mush dismay by the democratic states in the south that relied heavily on the slaves as a source of cheap and forced labor. When he eventually won the presidential elections later on, the southern states declared their intention to secede from the union. At the same time, the frustration and anger by the slaves had reached a point where there were many escapes and joining the Native Americans in the resistance of the white rule. This led to the civil unrest in American history that has come to be called the American Civil War. The war ended with signing and defeating the southern states in their bid to secede from the union.
President Lincoln will be remembered for his decisions that led to the emancipation and the end of the American Civil War. Although he did not live long enough to ratify and implement his prescriptions, his legacy has been of great inspiration to many activists and leaders of various forums. He risked his life and his political clout for the sake of unity among the federal government and laid the foundation for the formation of right groups. Since the end of the civil war, the Americans have remained with much suspicion and disrespect for one another. This can be based on the color of the skin race or the gender of the person (Donald, 1996).
The spirit with which President Abraham Lincoln stood and defended the rights of fellow Americans that were being marginalized in the society can also be said of the late Dr. Martin Luther king junior. The difference between President Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther king junior is that while the president based his quest on an end to slavery, Dr. King emphasized on the need for the granting and recognizing of the basic human rights. Although the amendment on the constitution had been made to accommodate and recognize the minority as legitimate citizens, their respective states still did not apply the laws to the later. There were reported claims of segregation in offering of services in public amenities. For instance there special schools that were designated for the whites only. This was never to admit any colored or any member of a marginalized group. Dr. King through his Christian ministries was able to reach a large congregation and lead to a mass movement that was opposed to the oppressions and mistreatment at the hands of the white Americans (Luther, 1958).
The rights that the African American were agitating for was the right to vote among others. Dr. King used to travel around giving sermons I church congregations and gatherings that had the majority membership of the African Americans in attendance. The struggle for the full recognition and application of the amendments still lives on to this moment. There are leaders of the right movements that have stepped in and are using the members in addressing the social imbalances like employment opportunities, fair judicial processes among other basic rights. The fight against the oppression and disregard to the rule of equal human rights will only change for better. The more communities try to suppress the movement and their spirited calls, the more energized the proponents of the rights will become. The rule of equal distribution and consideration can not be applied selectively. Human beings are logical animals and they can not be manipulated the way one wants, they will rebel and turn against you. (Ibid)
In conclusion, these two individuals fought hard for the freedom and embracement of human rights. Each one of them used his own tactics to overcome the vise of oppression and it is thus deserving to say their success was as a result of determination and the focus that they had on what they intended to achieve at the end of the struggle. Fear and inconsistency can not achieve any thing. For one to be successful, factors that enhance achievement namely determination, courage, focus among others should be the pillars for the success.