The United States of America has grown from the sweat of enslaved African Americans who worked their backs to build it. Its stench of racism is still new centuries later, even after they attained freedom in 1865. African Americans had always fought to be seen and heard in the United States, which began when they insisted on the right of being treated equally by being allowed to vote. Eventually, the government came up with a constitution guided by what was in the Bible and made laws that allowed them to vote. During the nineteenth century, letters were sent to and fro calling for freedom by enslaved people and women.
During the Seneca Falls convention, women began a move to free themselves from the suffering that was accorded to women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote a letter demanding that women be allowed to vote so that they could contribute to America. She calls for women to be treated equally to men because they are all equal in their creators’ eyes. Elizabeth lists situations where men have oppressed women, such as marriage, property ownership, and workplace ownership. Women did not have rights in the nineteenth century, and when they married, they lost them entirely. They became men’s property and were prohibited from having anything more than their husbands’.
Not only did men but also women believe that women were inferior to men. In her letter, Catherine Beecher reacts to the Grimke sisters by appealing to them to accept that heaven made man superior to a woman. She objected to the sisters’ move to form Abolition societies where women from non-slaveholding states could come together. Catherine insists that one sex is superior to the other so that each can have designated duties(Foner). She believes that if women seek power, the defense they receive from religion and society will be gone. Therefore, Catherine believes that men should be in charge of making petitions because they are the ones who appoint their rulers.
Many States in the US held a lot of enslaved people during the civil war, which began a conversation about whether it was morally right or wrong. The White southerners insisted that holding enslaved people was supported by the Bible and even used Abraham to support their claim(Foner). The Bible follows God’s servants and how they owned them. Slavery has always existed even before it could be defined, which makes it normal despite the things these enslaved people are put through. The Bible does not condemn slavery, justifying the White southerner’s claim even more.
Although some tried to justify slavery as a right, it did not stop the enslaved people from fleeing. Joseph Taper was among the slaves who fled and were lucky enough to start a new life without being caught by the so-called slave catchers. He managed to run away to Pennsylvania with his wife and kids, where he got a happily ever after (Foner). His kids got to go to good schools, and he was comfortable and happy with his friend. Taper uses the Bible to show that those who enslaved them will be judged. Taper writes a letter to his friend to share his experiences and thanks the Queen for having her in her country.
Everyone is entitled to have freedom; however, when people are used to the way things are, they become afraid of change. America has gone through many painful changes where the loss of life has convinced people that they are due for a change. Slavery and gender inequality were rampant in America before they attained independence. In both, the Bible is used to justify it. The Southerners hold that slavery is correct to catch enslaved people who have fled and return them to slavery. Women like Catherine believe that God made women inferior to men despite Elizabeth’s call for women to be treated equally.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History: One Volume. WW Norton & Company, 2019.