The Historical Perspective of Alabama Azam Fariz Sheyreen Dayang
The History of Alabama Alabama became a state of the United States of America on December 14, 1819. After the Indian Wars and removals of the early 19th century forced most Native Americans out of the state, white settlers arrived in large numbers. In antebellum(pre- war) Alabama, wealthy planters created large cotton plantations
Tens of thousands of slaves were transported to and sold in the state by slave traders who purchased them in the Upper South. Elsewhere in Alabama, poorer whites practiced subsistence farming. By 1860 African Americans comprised 45 percent of the states population.
The Civil War Alabama declared its secession in January 1861 and joined the Confederate States of America. The ensuing American Civil War saw action in Alabama, and the population suffered economic losses and hardships as a result of the war. The Southern capitulation in 1865 ended the Confederacy, led to the emancipation(to obtain political rights) of slaves, and began a period of Reconstruction.
An agricultural depression followed, and at the end of Reconstruction in 1877 Alabama emerged still a poor, heavily rural state, with an economy even more tied to cotton despite its declining prices. Reconstructions end heralded the rise to power of "Redeemer" Democrats whites who used both legal and extralegal means (including violence and harassment) to re-establish political and social dominance over the recently emancipated African Americans.
The Disenfranchisement In 1901 most African Americans (who in 1900 comprised more than 45 percent of the states population) as well as tens of thousands of poor whites were disfranchised by the Democrats. *Disenfranchisement : To deprive(to lose) of a privilege, an immunity, or a right of citizenship, especially the right to vote;
To escape the inequalities of disenfranchisement, segregation and violence, and underfunded schools, tens of thousands of African Americans joined the Great Migration from 1915 to 1930 and moved to better opportunities in industrial cities, mostly in the North and Midwest. The New Deal farm programs increased the price of cotton and World War II finally brought prosperity, as the state developed a manufacturing and service base.
Cotton faded in importance as mechanical pickers each replaced scores of farm workers. With the passage of national civil rights legislation in 1965, African Americans could all exercise their right to vote.
With the election of Guy Hunt as governor in 1986, the state became a Republican stronghold in presidential elections and leaned Republican in statewide elections, while the Democratic Party still dominated local and legislative offices. Democratic dominance has ended in terms of organization, the parties are about evenly matched.