The US Legal Systems Relationship To Race In The Latter Part Of The Nineteenth Century
United States legal system’s relationship to race
The role of the African American in the states has been a key factor in every period especially during the latter part of the 19th century in the American History. In the book ‘’ Reconstruction and Black Suffrage’’ focuses mainly on the issue of reconstruction of amendments and enforcement acts. Moreover, the book discusses the various factors of showing the position of the legal state on the issue of race in the United States. For over a hundred years, the blacks have affected with the states suffrage laws enslaving them, but this culminated when the union won and three amendments were considered which changed the lives of the blacks not only in the states but also globally. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment in the states constitution stopped slavery and made the citizens equal regardless of the color which then gave the blacks the rights to vote which impacted the American politics (Goldman, 2001). Moreover, the first amendment Act passed 62 days after the fifteenth amendment prohibited the state and other individuals from taking any actions to discourage anyone that is qualified to vote. The essay will address the relationship between the United States legal systems to the race factor.
The African American people in the United States had nothing in the eyes of the American legal system before the passage of the amendments. They were not given the same rights as their counterparts the white men or the people of color. For example, they were not able to enjoy voting rights, taking their electoral positions and other freedom and guarantees. However, the two amendments transformed everything by putting the blacks in the equal states with the whites in the eyes of the law. Therefore, any black individual could own property, cast a vote in the ballot box freely during an election, and also run for the electoral seats. Consequently, as the number of the blacks leaders in both local, state and government increases, the African American were able to have a voice in the state after the infringement. Therefore, for a short time was not at the hand of their oppressive whites who used to leaders. Thus, according to the amendment of the laws, the blacks were legally equal to the whites (Goldman).
However, the state of equality was only on the side of the law and not in the eyes of the people, in this case, the whites, making the amendments futile. The end of reconstruction in the year the white people began to take the southern government leading to the passage of all sorts of discriminatory factors such as poll taxes and other clauses that were used to suppress the votes of the black people. Moreover, under the incidence of segregation describing the state of being separate but equal and the disclosed case of Plessey vs. Ferguson in the 1989s undid much of the equality that was gained from the amendments. The blacks’ fate of being second class after the white people in society resurfaced.
Plessey vs. Ferguson allowed the aspect of segregation to become law in the United States. After the case, the new system of law known as Jim Crow laws meant to discriminate the African America spread through the United States. The Supreme Court had to disagree with Plessey’s lawyer stating that even though the amendments intended to make the blacks equal to the whites, but did not mean that the two races are to be equal in the society. According to justice brown, the whites are not supposed to be in the same public space with the African American. Therefore, according to the statements, in the eyes of the law, the whites are still superior to the blacks’ despite the amendments.
Moreover, according to the court or the legal system, the amendments were only meant to initiate legal state and not social or equality state. They were placed second-class citizens were denied the assurance of freedom that was given through the assurance. This is an indication that the law was very distinct from the race. The American legal system favored the whites and discriminated the blacks. For example, in the decision, the Supreme Court ruled in the favor of Ferguson. The majority went against Plessey’s Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment arguments, but instead putting its stamp of approval on the aspects of “separate but equal.” The case made it vivid that segregationist laws indoctrinate society with the belief that the two races are not equal. The legal system still recognized that the state of equality could not be attained by the amendments and that white people have right over the black men. Therefore, the amendments had importance and significance based on the statements and symbolism. They were like empty statements and without importance in the 1880s which was no different from the slavery that happened during the 1850s.
The legalistic reasoning marked the grim and the beginning of the timely fight and struggle to claim what the amendments had granted the people. As Goldman states, the court decision to favor Fergusson undermined the fledgling form of the newly formed justice system department and made it very difficult to solve the issue and case of racial discrimination in the United States of America and other less visible means used by the whites’ Democrats to reclaim their political power. The legal system in the southern part was not able to apply justice according to the amendments that were passed. Therefore, there was a need for change in the judicial system and reclamation of the legal system to control the increasing rate of race factor in the states. According to Goldman, the decision of the courts could not reflect the transformation but showed the kind of darkness in the legal system in the fight for equality. There was lack of force to enact the change system from the amendments since the courts had in mind the state of inequality between the whites and black in the society.
Even though slavery was abolished in the United States, racial discrimination did not go with it. The book ‘’ Reconstruction and Black Suffrage’’ and the case ‘’Plessey vs. Ferguson’’ shows the relationship that exists between the legal system and the issue of race. After several pushes through the amendments of the law, the legal system did not implement the changes but instead increased their level of discrimination of the blacks. The court decisions fueled and promoted racial discrimination since they favored the whites believing that blacks do not have a place in the nation despite the amendments that were pushed. Therefore, the legal system in the United States promoted the issue of race.