So I'm doing a DBQ and our questions to go by are: why the slaves were being free? why slavery is expanding? and how did blacks view this change?  

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kquinn-stearns eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Technically, slaves were freed in the United States with the passing of two laws, the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and the 13th Amendment in the US Constitution.  The Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in the Union and the Confederacy.  It did not include the border states, which at that time were fighting for the Union.  Lincoln feared they would support the Confederacy if he banned slavery in those states.  After the Civil War ended, however, Congress introduced the 13th Amendment, which formally banned all slavery in the United States and its territories.  However, many would argue that just because a law had banned slavery, African Americans were still considered slaves.  Because of lack of education and strong racist sentiments in the South, it was difficult for African Americans to break away from the roles of slavery.  The Reconstruction era also saw two major economic practices that many historians argue kept former slaves "enslaved" by whites in the south: sharecropping and tenant farming.  Sharecropping "is a system of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crop produced on the land (e.g. 50% of the crop)."  Tenant farming "is an agricultural production system in which landowners contribute their land and often a measure of operating capital and management; while tenant farmers contribute their labor along with at times varying amounts of capital and management." Both of these practices allowed massive amount of control by former slave owners over their former slaves.  Further, the formation of the Ku Klux Klan and practices such as poll taxes and literacy tests at voting polls prevented former slaves from having a say in politics, and also caused great fear amongst the communities.  All of these events led to what many consider the expansion of slavery in a time when slavery was supposed to be illegally.