The Compromise of 1877 marked the dawn of a new era in American History. Most events after the compromise, decades down the road, are direct results of the compromise. Specifically blacks were most affected by this. Rights they were promised when they fought with the north in the civil war were gone. The rights were not taken away per say, but simply not enforced. The compromise that most likely saved the nation from breaking back into civil war had a snowball effect on the lives of everybody after it was made. Reconstruction was imperative in the history of the United States.
Right after the civil war, the nation and its former enemy were now at peace and ready to become one again. It allowed the south to rejoin the nation under certain stipulations. As an alternative the south rejoined but adopted things like the black codes to continue persecuting the former slaves. Angering the north the south was put under military rule to enforce said stipulations agreed upon to rejoin the nation. While the north industrialized and prospered the south clung on to agriculture and slavery with all their might. Tensions were running high once again and the United States was on the brink of war all over again.
The Compromise of 1877 prevented a war run nation from erupting back into battle. Essentially both the north and the south got some things they wanted and some they didn’t; the definition of a compromise. Troops were removed from the south, Hayes was elected pending a democratic member in his cabinet, a second transcontinental railroad in the south, and legislation made to help industrialize the south. This seemed fair to everybody…except the blacks. In 1877 the critical compromise made to save the peace of the fragilely rejoined nation was a huge betrayal to the former slaves, black men and omen, of the south. The blacks fought for the north, for their freedom, and then once they succeeded the government pulled back and basically turned a blind eye to the treatment that the blacks then endured. The right to vote was given to all men in 1870 with the 15th amendment but once the military left the south black men had trouble voting. Poll taxes, literacy tests, the grandfather clause, intimidation, and more were fighting against the black men and their right to vote. Due to this compromise, African Americans were back to fighting for their freedom once more.
Some decided to move while others decided to stay and endure the persecution. Some black families decided to move west to live in the Great Plains or to mine gold in California. The land was difficult to harvest and the homes that they lived in were nothing of what the homes in the east were. A photograph from the Nebraska Stat Historical Society captures an African American family living in Nebraska. This family moved from the south, being former slaves, to the western area being colonized by Americans to escape persecution. They lived in a sod home and appeared to be unhappy with their living conditions.
This was not easily harvested land like the south was. Bugs, winds, and fires destroyed crops regularly and soil was not what they were used to. Being betrayed had a bitter taste when former slaves moved away from the persecution into an area where home was not what they wanted it to be. In the 19th century racism ruled the south. Blacks were persecuted all over and in horrendous ways; Beatings, Lynching, and so on. Miss Ida B. Wells, a black woman who lived in a southern state, was thrown off a bus in Tennessee for not vacating a seat which was reserved for a white person.
This ordeal had such a big impact on her life that she devoted herself to exposing racism to the United States in effort to achieve racial justice. She wrote a pamphlet on lynch laws in 1892 which caused her to have to flea for her life. A photograph of the pamphlet’s cover in our history book shows us her dedication to the cause. The pamphlet is titled, “Southern Horrors Lynch Law in all its Phases” and has a portrait of her on the cover. Further investigation of the pamphlets contents is not needed.
Her objective was to expose the horrendous treatment of blacks in the south and the reaction of southern people is enough to know that was exactly what she did. Specifically she wanted to expose the evil of lynching. The dictionary definition of lynching is putting a person to death by mob action without due process of law, meaning you were accused of a crime you would be put to death without trial, if you were black. How many people died under false accusations? Herein lays the evil of lynching. The civil rights movement is in my opinion one of the greatest effects of the Compromise of 1877.
People were driven to have equal rights, not just written by law, but actual civil rights. Sure, there was the 15th amendment giving blacks the right to vote but what about public rights. Separate but equal became a norm in the south, therefore, not giving blacks fair rights; separate schools, separate public transportation, restaurants, and so on. Segregation therefore is an effect of the compromise because the south was allowed to go on with it. Segregation and the whole civil rights movement brought into light, in my eyes, the most influential leader for African Americans. Martin Luther King Jr. as a man who knew what he wanted and was determined to get it. A photograph in my history book reminds us of everything he achieved. This is a photograph of King Jr. giving his famous “I have a dream” speech which was one of the most important events in the civil rights movement. He inspired people to fight for the rights they were denied by the crucial compromise. In the 20th century a group called Nativists emerged. Racism fueled this group so strongly that the Ku Klux Klan was revived; the group that persecuted and killed so many blacks in the south just a century earlier.
A poster, clearly drawn or painted, of a Klan member on horseback carrying an American flag can be examined and shows the effect they had on the nation. Large letters saying “America for Americans” are displayed across the poster. The poster implies to me the “my way or the highway” cliche so known in the world. Everybody knew what the Klan was so having this poster of them riding with an American flag shows that there could be backing to the Nativist way and also the violence that is sure to be in effect if their way s not followed. The affects of the Compromise of 1877 are endless. The history of the United States was forever changed by a deal which was enacted to keep war out of our nation. The persecution of blacks was the norm for decades after slavery was abolished and the compromise was a direct cause. When troops were pulled out of the south, the south took to their old ways once again. To this day we live by rules enacted by the Compromise of 1877 and that alone proves what a pivotal point in history this truly was.