Historical Background of the 19th Century:

August 19,1865, the last of the American slaves were freed, this coming nearly two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This is the end of slavery but, unfortunately, this is not the end of racism. Race played a prominent role during the eighteen-hundreds. Congress repeatedly overturned President Andrew Johnson’s veto of bills that gave blacks citizenship, the right to vote, and other rights. In 1975, the Civil Rights Act was passed giving blacks equal public accommodation rights and jury duty. Although these laws are being passed, they are not upheld as strongly as necessary to grant equality to every race. In 1881, equality began taking step backwards, starting with the implementation of segregated transportation. Plessy vs. Ferguson is a case that sought to end these segregation laws, but they failed to prove that Plessy received unequal treatment (Becker). With the racial concerns extensively surrounding this time period, it is no surprise that both Mark Twain and William Dean Howells addressed the issues of great concern during the era.

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