Racism in America


1. Columbian historian Eric Foner (1983) quotes W. E. B. Dubois in calling reconstruction a “splendid failure (p.16).” After studying the events of late 19th century, defend whether or not you agree with his position. What are the long-term implications? In my opinion the one of the largest mistakes that was made was the amount of racism that still continued in America. Still to this day there is a large amount of racism in America, the only difference is it is not just between white and blacks. When it comes to racism for some reason it seems all races and all people can’t just get along. Growing up in the south I have seen this first hand. The problem is now if there is any kinds of disagreement between races it is blown way out of proportion. A small example would be the Travon Martin case. This case should of not had half of the publicity it did, but because it was a crime that was white on black people took it as a hate crime. The problem in my opinion is it was not even white on black and half of America still seems to think it was. When people get something in there heads they are going to put their own “twist” on what they think happened and it will cause things to get out of hand.

I believe the Emancipation Proclamation was intended to be the right step in fixing a problem. The problem still existed because even when it comes to law officials there is racism to this day. I have seen police officers that treat people that are not the same race as them differently because that is the way they were raised. That to me is something that is unacceptable, if you are a police officer or a person in a similar position and they still are using race to make decisions it creates more problems in the first place. On the other side some people attempt to use their race to benefit themselves because they are a minority. I went to school with a young African American that was picked on because of the color of his skin, he was new to our school and was moved into our school because his school was flooded when a hurricane came and flooded his school.

Some students saw a chance to pick on someone because they were different, they talk, look, and act different than others. I saw this happening and became friends with him because I do not believe in this at all. Another student that came in wanted to play sports and thought he was the best player on the field. He did not make the team and he filed a complaint with the state of North Carolina saying the reason he did not make the team was because of his race. He was then transferred from our school to be given a chance to play somewhere else. To me this was someone trying to take advantage of their race in a negative way simply because the student did not get his way to begin with. 4. Identify one significant leader in the Populist movement and give a brief synopsis of this person’s contributions, failures, and successes in bringing about the ideas of populism

“In 1890 Populists won control of the Kansas state legislature, and Kansan William Peffer became the party’s first U.S. Senator. Peffer, with his long white beard, was a humorous figure to many Eastern journalists and politicians, who saw little evidence of Populism in their states and often treated the party as a joke” (“1890”, 2000). Western and Southern Populists gained a large amount of support even though the other parties felt this way. Populists presidential candidate, James B. Weaver actually was able to win over one million votes. Because of fraud, intimidation, and violence by the Southern Democrats the party still failed to make any further gains. One of the largest pieces of success was the party being officially founded because of the merger of the Farmers’ Alliance and the Knights of Labor. Because of all the negative things going on because of the Democrat and Republicans all going against the Populist party it made it very hard to continue this party and keep it functioning. “Two main factions had appeared. One, the fusion Populists, sought to merge with the Democrats, using the threat of independent organization to force changes in the major party’s platform.

The Populist organization in Kansas had already “fused”–over the bitter protest of those who considered this a sell-out. Fusionists argued that the regionally based third party could never hold national power; the best strategy was to influence a major party that could” (“1890”, 2000). The Second faction was called “mid-roaders” and suspected that Democratic leaders wanted to destroy the third-party threat. The Populists party also wanted to schedule the national convention before the Republican and Democrats were able to hold theirs. This would be a fight that was lost and they would have to hold their meeting after the
major-party meetings. In my opinion the larger parties where using their size and power to make it very difficult for the Populists party to stay in tact and eventually got what they wanted when it was done away with. The Populists began serving more as a symbol for the Republicans and their nomination that the Populists put through would even begin to ignore the party even though they were the ones who nominated him.


1890. (2000). Retrieved from http://projects.vassar.edu/1896/populists.html