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The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

The First Step to Freedom: The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

Be sure to visit the NYSM from February 11 to March 1, 2020, to view an original draft of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation written in Lincoln’s own hand. 

Activity 3

This cartoon reflects the political situation in the South after Reconstruction. While Radical Republicans wanted to expand liberties for newly freed African Americans, Democrats and former Confederates wanted to limit these rights. By the 1870s overall public opinion began to turn against Republican policies in the South. Northerners, many of who never had a commitment to racial equality, grew tired of the endless turmoil of Southern politics. By 1876 the Democratic Party, strongly Southern and made up of many ex-Confederates, had a majority in the House of Representatives. Most of these officials wanted to eliminate the racial progress achieved during Reconstruction. Even the Supreme Court narrowed the scope of the 14th and 15th Amendments. In 1877 Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew the last of the federal troops from the South, and Reconstruction was officially over. But state and local policies known as Jim Crow Laws began, legalizing discrimination against African Americans in all facets of public life. Jim Crow Laws, upheld primarily in the South but also present in the North, were enforced for nearly a century.

(Click on image below to view full screen.)

“Of Course He Wants to Vote the Democratic Ticket!” Harpers Weekly, October 21, 1876

“Of Course He Wants to Vote the Democratic Ticket!” Harpers Weekly, October 21, 1876
A. B. Frost 
University of Michigan Library Collections

Engaging Question: Did the 15th Amendment give all African American men the ability to vote?

Using Political Cartoon Analysis, the graphic organizer created by the New York State Archives, have students describe what they think the political cartoon is saying and then analyze the image using the prompts to help answer the question, “Did the 15th Amendment give all African American men the ability to vote?”