Every human being in every society that is civilized is entitled to certain rights that help in protecting against unwarranted suffering and prevent ill-treatment that may intimidate the whole society. These rights are responsible for protecting citizens in particular societies from unjust treatment under the law. Any citizen of the United States of America has a right to hold property. This means that any citizen has the right to earn an income and use it in whichever way he/she pleases. The government has no business in taking away something that a citizen has earned legally and rightfully unless it is under certain circumstances like bankruptcy.

Every citizen has a right to liberty or in other words freedom. This means that a citizen is entitled to living a life without government interference or control. The right to make ones mind up on issues is left open to him/her without the government’s dictatorship. Most importantly, every citizen has the right to life and all personal decisions are left open for him/her to make without the government imposing. Every citizen also has the right to pursue happiness and this means that one has the freedom to go make a choice in life that gives them fulfillment and pleasure.

            Slavery in the United States of America started in the sixteen hundreds when the initial African slaves were brought to Jamestown Virginia to help in manufacture of tobacco. Since then slavery was dominant in America and were held in states. Slaves were treated brutally, with inhumanity and were degraded. They were most often whipped, raped and even executed with no questions. Abolition of slave trade was enacted in 1808 but this did not prevent the use of the already possessed slaves by their masters. They however improved their conditions slightly to lure them from thinking of fleeing (Russell-Brown 1949).

            Slaves were generally denied most of the basic rights that the whites enjoyed. They were denied the chance to know how to read and write. The few who learned did this from laborers who worked with them. There was limited access to medical care for slaves. They received care from their fellow slaves, most of who had acquired skills back home in Africa. It was also forbidden for slaves from some states to meet posing religious reasons, as their masters believed that this would be a chance for them to plot rebellion. Slaves whose masters said were disobedient were branded, hanged, burned, mutilated and whipped as forms of punishment (Russell-Brown 1950).

            Rights for slaves were deeply infringed. In South Carolina, no slave had the right to leave the master’s home without accompaniment by a white person thus limiting freedom of movement. Slaves who avoid arrest for more than twenty days was publicly whipped and branded letter ‘R’ on their cheeks, escaping for thirty days the punishment was to get an ear cut off and if one tried to escape and was caught he/she would be served with a death penalty. In the Tobacco states, slaves were forbidden from owning weapons and self-defense against a white person (Schultz 53).

In general, slaves were denied most of the rights that as stipulated in the constitution. They did not have the right of pursuit of happiness, right of liberty, right to life and right to own property unless he/she could prove without reasonable doubt that he/she was free. They lacked the rights to vote the right to be considered a full person. They always had to carry papers to show their status especially in the case of the free ones and if they did not, they could be put back into slavery easily. They were also denied the right to assemble and the right to own a weapon (Russell-Brown 1958).

At the end of the civil war in 1865, slavery was bound to end. It however continued in some areas for some time before it was finally stated as illegal to own a slave. Thousands of slaves were released and their conditions improved after that. The enjoyed many privileges that they had not been able to. They could now exercise their right for voting, they could go to school to get an education, and they could hold office. This however was not gong to last long as Black Codes were soon introduced. These laws affected the freedom the African Americans had just gained and obligated them to work for low wages. The laws applied to blacks who had previously been freed from slavery. These laws were therefore there to sustain and ensure slavery never went away (Schultz 68).

Though the slavery had been abolished and the slaves freed, the situation of the African-Americans remained discriminated for the next hundred years that followed. The expectations that the just freed slaves would have laws in the constitution that protected them was never to be since the Black Codes were then introduced to eat away the rights they had just gained access to. It took human rights actions to stand up and fight for the rights of the Black-Americans.

Works Cited

Russell-Brown l-Brown, Katheryn. The Color of Crime. New York: New York University Press, 2009. Print.

Schultz, Kevin M. Hist. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.

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