The article’s historical content lies at a time when African Americans have gained their freedom from their white masters. After the Civil War of 1861 to 1865, the Northerners emerged the winners and implemented the liberation of all slaves in the country. With the emancipation, African Americans were considered citizens of United States and were in turn allowed to work for wages and attend school. On the other hand, the Southerners suffered a massive blow as their cotton plantations fell short of free labor. The major cause of the Civil War was the issue of slavery. While the Northerners were for the idea of minimum wage for all people, the Southern States were in full support of slavery as they depended on the free exertion. This was so because cotton plantations formed the backbone of the Southern States economy and through slavery, the States were ensured of big profits from the same.
Jourdan Anderson is an African American who belonged to Colonel P.H Anderson. During the Civil War, he and his family are freed from slavery by the Union Army that passes through his master’s plantation. He moves with his family to Ohio and manages to get a job that pays twenty-five dollars a month while his wife is employed at a salary of two dollars a week. His children are enrolled in school and are for once treated with respect.
Freedom and liberation of slaves in the United States of America is the first thing to note in the letter. Anderson confirms this in the terms he puts across for his former master to consider. In fact, Colonel Anderson seems to beg for Anderson Jourdan’s return to his plantation and he offers to pay him a salary. At the same time, while slaves were at one time forbidden from talking back to their masters or going against them, Anderson’s freedom allows him to state the conditions under which he is willing to work.
The letter is written almost immediately after the Civil War as the colonels plantation is still in disarray after the war. However, African American slaves are free and are allowed to acquire education, a luxury that was previously meant for the whites alone. This is an indicator of the Northerners’ triumph in the war and the loss of the Southern states. This is evidenced by the fact that resident’s of the state of Ohio manage to pay their workers regardless of race while the colonel is forced to sell his plantation to cover his debts.
While slaves were mistreated and disregarded by their masters, Jourdan Anderson is able to demand compensation for the years he worked as a slave and respect for his wife, children, and himself. In addition, his demands are seen as a sign of cleverness as with them, he is able to discourage his former master from contacting him again with promises of a wage. It can be argued that though the blacks amounted to nothing before their white masters, they had wit and were clever despite their lack of proper education.
With respect to the contents of the letter, different conclusions can be made and a new understanding is evident. After the Civil War there was emancipation of all slaves after which all African Americans were considered free citizens of the United States of America. The country was still trying to survive without slavery and previous masters failed to revive themselves from the disorder brought by war and lack of free labor. Finally yet importantly, all previous slaves were finally able to stand up for their rights.