Social Change in the Nineteenth Century Questions and Answers

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If the enduring vision of America is embodied in the Declaration of Independence's statements about equality and universal rights to justice, liberty, and self-fulfillment, how much progress toward those ideals had African Americans and women made by 1877? Back up your evaluation with as many specific facts as possible about the status of African Americans and women at the end of Reconstruction.

Some progress had been made towards equality and justice for African-Americans and women by 1877. Notably, Lincoln had ended slavery, and the Civil War was fought, in part, to reinforce this. The women's rights movement was kicked off in 1848 at Seneca Falls. Both groups were striving for voting rights, greater equality, and for their voices to be heard and represented in American democracy. However, there was still a long way to go.

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While progress had been made for African American rights and women's rights by 1877, there was still a lot of work to do. The most significant gain for America's Black population was the end of slavery. Lincoln, of course, ended slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and the victory of the North in the Civil War ensured it would be ended in the South. Given that the institution predated America's founding, this was an important and influential landmark.

Following the Civil War was the Reconstruction era, which remains a contentious one for historians. Initially, Union troops occupied the South and served to protect Black citizens as they became integrated into the Republic...

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