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The Dark Past of the United States

The Mistreatment of Natives and African-Americans

Published onDec 11, 2021
The Dark Past of the United States

Throughout the colonial history of the United States, the land of freedom and opportunity has been the dream for many foreign and domestic immigrants. However, unfortunately, that dream for many was short-lived. As we look into the dark past of the United States and its founding fathers and the Constitution, we can see that the first settlers were friendly but also savages to the Natives and the African slaves. As the establishment of a new government was taking place thus, the constitution was born, and it did not include slaves or native tribes. Instead, the new government used to race and discrimination to determine what laws were beneficial to the superior race. To dictate what race is and how it is socially constructed, politicians and scientists created this theory of "race" to benefit the white over any other human being.

Race from its origin is socially constructed because man created it. It only exists because humans agree it exists, and as a result, we have human interaction. No scientific, biological, or genetic evidence proves that humans are genetically different from inherited "racial" categories.1 Instead, they observe that race is one of the concepts humans have created to sort and categorize their members. The race is a concept that has and continues to influence how societies have been structured significantly. While there are many categories of race, our society has given more meaning to some types of difference (such as skin color and gender). Observing the alleged inferiority of other "races" used to justify the Atlantic Slave Trade and chattel slavery in the U.S., state-sanctioned removal and forced assimilation of Native Americans, and wholesale exclusion of and discrimination against various" inferior races." As a result, "Race science" legitimized the race-based divisions in societies, institutions were created to normalize these race-based divisions, and humans began to accept as natural and inevitable that black or brown people were inferior to white people.

From a president's perspective on the natives, President Jackson used race to determine and justify whites being superior beings in the new Americas. Jackson commented on the Indian problem, "They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement, which are essential to any change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and superior race, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances and erelong disappear."2 In 1830, The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, authorizing the president to grant lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders.3 As part of Andrew Jackson's Indian removal strategy in 1838 and 1839, The Cherokee nation was forced to give up its holdings east of the Mississippi River and migrate to present-day Oklahoma. Because of its catastrophic consequences, the Cherokee people named this trip the "Trail of Tears."4

The United States Constitution was amended three times during the Reconstruction era. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery; the Fourteenth Amendment granted former slaves' citizenship and legal equality, and the Fifteenth Amendment gave African American men the right to vote. All three amendments were intended to help former slaves in the South. Black codes were strict municipal and state restrictions that dictated when, where, and how previously enslaved people might work, as well as how much they could be paid.5 The codes were used as a legal weapon to enslave Black people, remove their voting rights, limit where they lived and how they traveled, and kidnap children for labor purposes all over the South. The idea of racial inferiority/superiority persisted despite Radical Republican efforts to level reconstruct society without racial classifications. No evidence proves that Natives or African Americans are incapable of advancing into white society.

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