Antebellum America the Plight of Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:



The social hierarchy additionally explains the reason why African-American women -- slaves in particular -- were subject to "persistent sexualization" in slave culture (77). Men of both races maintained social power over African-American women, who had little recourse if they were abused physically or sexually (West, 3). African-American men did not have the same sexualization and the very idea of a sexual relationship between a free or slave African-American man and a white women invoked violence (West, 77).

Changes in the role of African-Americans did occur in the period leading up to the Civil War. African-Americans sought out more rights during this period. Conversely small groups of women may have been seeking out rights but most were called to support their husbands and families -- and their entire society -- as the political scene turned towards the possibility of war (Dorsey, 77). This was particularly true in the South where states rights and slavery had become a threat to an entire way of life.

Freed African-Americans even pursued the possibility of returning to Africa in the early 1800s (Dorsey, 77). This idea met with great support from those who supported an end to slavery but recognized the difficulty in incorporating African-Americans into a racially segregated society. Dorsey explains that the "movement's underlying ideological premise... was that white prejudice against black people was so debasing and immutable that African-Americans could never be accorded equality unless they were removed from white society" (77). Though the move to Africa never occurred, its support by white in the North made is clear that they, too, did not see a society where African-Americans would be free and not marginalized, despite efforts to provide them with rights and freedoms.

In the North, after all, it was possible for African-Americans to have some freedoms, particularly as the antebellum era moved closer to the war. Despite these changes, both groups continued to be marginalized. One key example of such marginalization appears in Frederick Douglass' "Independence Day Speech." Douglass was asked to speak, implying some measure of acceptance, respect, and freedom from those around him. Yet, Rochester, New York in 1852 continued to celebrate the social constructs that prevented Douglass from being truly free or independent. Douglass lived in Rochester among white men and had gained enough support to be openly invited to speak and to them as a leader. However, there continued to be a rift between what was expected and what actually was. In other words, the ideology of independence and freedom for men like Douglass was treated as if it had occurred when really it was in its infancy.

To that end, Douglass offered a rather startling homage to independence in his speech, saying, "To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhumane mockery and sacrilegious irony." Though the people of Rochester asked Douglass to speak because they thought he would speak of the freedom he has as a Northern free African-American man, he instead pointed out how little they really understood about the marginalization of African-Americans in that society.

Women and African-Americans were clearly marginalized in antebellum America. Though new rights were offered or fought for, the social roles and expectations placed on both groups were deep-rooted. These deep-rooted ideals contributed to the following war and helped to define the groups in the post-war society. However, it would be many years before either groups saw significant changes in their socially acceptable roles. Until that time, white men held the power over white women and African-Americans; white women held the power over African-Americans; and African-American men held the power over the women of their race. These clear delineations made it easier for members of antebellum society to oppress certain individuals and find their place in the larger social scheme.

Works Cited

Dorsey, Bruce. "A Gendered History of African Colonization in the Antebellum United States." Journal of Social History 34.1 (2000): 77-105. Academic Search Premier. 8 May 2007. http://search.ebscohost.com.

Douglass, Frederick. "Independence Day Speech." Rochester, NY. 4 Jul. 1852. 6 May 2007 http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/douglass.htm.

Mars, James. Life of James Mars: a slave born and sold in Connecticut. Hartford, CT: Press of Case, Lockwood & Co., 1865.

West, Emily. "Tensions, Tempers, and Temptations: Marital Discord Among Slaves in Antebellum South…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Antebellum America The Plight Of" (2007, May 08) Retrieved December 5, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/antebellum-america-the-plight-of-37853

"Antebellum America The Plight Of" 08 May 2007. Web.5 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/antebellum-america-the-plight-of-37853>

"Antebellum America The Plight Of", 08 May 2007, Accessed.5 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/antebellum-america-the-plight-of-37853

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Woman The Book Aren t I A Woman

    Woman? The book, 'Aren't I a Woman?' explores the challenges that women faced in the antebellum America. The author has focused to address the challenges of sexuality and racism that affected many women of this age. The author, Deborah Gray is a Professor at Scott University, who has focused her study in examining the issues of justice and social inequality in society. She is interested in this study as she

  • Religion Entered the 18th Century and With

    religion entered the 18th Century and with it a revival. The growth of the revival was overwhelming.More people attended church than in previous centuries. Churches from all denominations popped up throughout established colonies and cities within the United States. Religious growth also spread throughout England, Wales and Scotland. This was a time referred to as "The Great Awakening" where people like Jarena Lee got her start preaching. Evangelism, the epicenter

  • Black Church the Redemptive Role

    It will use historical evidence to examine the role of the church is a spiritual entity. It will examine the role of the church as a political entity throughout changing political landscapes. It will explore the role of the church as a social service provider with regards to the importance of this role in helping black people to redeem themselves in light of historical cultural atrocities that they have

  • Free Blacks in American Society

    Therefore, the certificate was the black's ultimate proof, and without it, they could never hope to live a peaceful and fulfilled life, and although the purpose of the certificates was to ensure that the blacks could move about freely, it had the opposite effect, and this was that they were more often arrested if they ventured to travel outside of their county. When they set up shops, they found

  • Novel Kindred by Octavia E Butler

    Stereotypes Found in Octavia Butler's Kindred Many authors are content to mold their characters around standard racial stereotypes, unwilling or unable to challenge typecasting. These authors often give no motivation for their characters stereotypical behavior, allowing the conduct to perpetuate and reinforce the racial divide. Refreshingly, not all authors are as inhibited. Octavia E. Butler, in her novel Kindred, seeks to explain the context in which racial stereotypes are (and have

  • Historiography on Four Works Written

    Blassingame presents his information in a more unbiased manner. Perhaps he was worried of being accused of bias because he was black, and so, he worked hard to eliminate it from his work. Whatever the reason, his book seems the most balanced and effective of all these works, partly because he does not moralize, he simply presents the facts, as he knows them. Later he writes that the whites often

  • Black Seminoles

    Politics makes strange bedfellows, we are told, with the implication that those brought together by the vagaries of politics would be best kept apart. But sometimes this is not true at all. In the case of the Black Seminoles, politics brought slaves and Seminole Indians politics brought together two groups of people who would - had the history of the South been written just a little bit differently - would


Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved