Created Equal: how Benjamin Banneker Challenged Jefferson on Race and Freedom

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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The significance of Chief John Ross is he served many leading positions within the Cherokee nation. He drafted their constitution in 1827 and was appointed principal chief of the Cherokee from 1828 through 1866. During this time he fought endlessly for the Cherokee tribe and tried to prevent the Indian Removal Act. He became the voice for the Cherokee people and presented cases of why they should not be forced to relocate. When the Treaty Party secretly signed a treaty of new code in 1835, he sent numerous letters and petitions fighting unrightfully signing.

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When the Cherokees were invaded and sent out to march the trail of tears in 1838, Ross leads the tribe through the horrible conditions which resulted within 1/4 of their population. When settling, John Ross remained Principal Chief for 27years and rebuilt the Cherokee community. Up until his death in 1866, he continued to fight for the rights of Cherokees and slaves

The House slave versus field slave was significant in the ways of the roles each played during these times. House slave’s duties consisted more of maintaining the home, cooking, cleaning, tending to the master and their families. These slaves usually lived within the homes or property and still endured harsh conditions such as starvation, sleeping on the floor, and even sexual assault. Field slaves worked six or even days a week, from morning to night under all weather conditions. Their jobs consisted of farming, harvesting, tending to animals, and much more. They were worked for him urs without being given breaks, or water to stay hydrated. When they didn’t perform well in duties they were severely beaten.

The significance of the Black Codes was a series of laws that were passed in 1865 after the civil war to prohibiting African Americans’ new freedom to an extent. After the civil war was over, 4 million slaves were freed and had little to nothing to support themselves. White southerners constructed special state laws specifically for people of color. Within these state laws people of color were limited to the amount of land they could own, the jobs they were able to work, usually only being farmers or servants, anything out of those would have to be approved by a judge. They gave options to people of color to sign labor contracts that were similar to the same rules as slaves but gave them a right to do nothing unreasonable. In the court system, they received harsher punishments to those who didn’t oblige by the new laws faced years in the mail or even the death penalty.

Institutional Racism is significant because they are the policies and practices of institutions that negatively impact racial minorities’ access to equal opportunities, goods, and more. An example of institutional racism would be the Indian removal act, when the legislative specifically targeted Indians and forced them to move and relocate from their native lands. When the civil war was over and slaves were emancipated many states passed laws known as black codes which limited the amount of freedom, not only limiting a certain amount to be able to vote. They pass the Jim Crow laws which segregated people of color from whites in places such as schools, government workforces, and churches.

The significance of Remember thy ladies was a letter written by Abigail Adams in 1776 to her husband John Adams. In the letter, she asked her husband when making new codes of laws to remember and give women the rights they deserved. She believed now would be the opportunity to give women the same opportunities their ancestors once not only did she ask for women’s rights she became the gateway for women to fight and express wanting equality and patriotism.

Banneker wrote Thomas Jefferson and said “However diversified in Situation or color, we are all of the Same Family, and stand in the same relation to him” Banneker intention of the letter was to remind Jefferson of the purpose of granting people of color equal rights. During the freeing of slaves, masters often offered “opportunities “ for slaves to remain with their masters, Jourdon Anderson stated,” as to my freedom which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864. “ Banneker would be supported by slaves for reminding Jefferson of the perspective and views he once stated he felt so strongly for which included the drafting of the doctrine state. Just as the slaves did when confronting their conditions with their masters. Although Banneker was never an imprisoned slave, he related and understood the hardships faced because he was still a man of color as well.

The Other civil war played an important role because it represented a time during the Anti-Rent movement. The crisis of 1837 left many people unemployed and seeking land. A group of over one thousand farmers rallied and protested in AntiRent groups to prohibit landowners from evicting. Not only was it a time to fight for housing this was a time for labor laws to come into effect due to numerous strikes and shutdowns including the railroads. Alongside this occurring also happening in Rhode Island was rs had to endure.

People believed the United States was meant to expand. Manifest destiny was used to justify the U.S territorial expansion. The rapid expansion resulted in a war with Mexico and the mistreatment of Native Americans. Many Cherokees and other native tribes were forced to leave their land and endure the trail of tears where more than 1/4th of the tribe died along the way. One of the ways the US tried to justify their actions was for the finding of gold, which caused a large number of settlers to invade.I believe what they did was a violation of the Cherokee and other tribes. They acted upon greed for the discovery of gold and land. They cared less about the thousands who died from starvation and weather conditions. Only 1/3 of Louisiana purchase was used and that shows the actions of the war were unnecessary because the US still had a substantial-good amount of land for advancement.

Reconstruction began in 1867 under Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. Lincoln during this time proposed that some people of color including free blacks and those in the military had the right to vote. He was assassinated three days later and Andrew Johnson took office. He stood with the southerners and granted that all land that was issued to freed slaves be returned to their rightful owners before the war. Not only did he propose land to be returned he allowed the black codes to pass which restricted blacks’ activities and work opportunities. During this time congress vetoed president Johnson and created the 14th amendment which defined citizenship, equal protection, and the bill of rights. The 15th amendment passed which prohibited states from denying men the right to vote based on race, however, did not specify denying them other ways such as education. In 1866 the Ku Klux Klan was established by ex-soldiers. During the civil rights movement, they increased hatred crimes on African Americans involving terrorizing them, severely attacking them in public, schools and even destroying homes. I believe they emerged from the civil rights movement because the more equality colored people were starting to have. 

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Created Equal: How Benjamin Banneker Challenged Jefferson on Race and Freedom. (2021, Jun 27). Retrieved from