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             In the history of the United States, African Americans have always been discriminated against. When Africans first came to America, they were brought here against their will and forced to work as laborers, usually on plantations. They became slaves to the rich, greedy, lazy Americans. They were given no pay and often badly whipped and beaten. African Americans continuously fought for their freedom, but up until the Civil War it was never given to them. When the Civil War began, they wanted to take part in the fighting to free all slaves. Their opportunity to be soldiers and fight along side white men equally did not come easily. They first had to fight to be given a true chance to defend their country. When they were allowed into the military, they were still not considered equals either on the battlefield or off. When they were finally permitted to fight, they did so bravely and with honor, proving that they were able to withstand the heat of battle and fight as true American heroes.
             The road to freedom from slavery was a long and hard one for the African Americans. In the northern states the Civil War began as a fight against the succession of the Confederate states from the Union. Abraham Lincoln, who was President at this time, wanted to save the nation by bringing the southern states back to the Union, but this "Great Emancipator" ironically did not have much intention of freeing the slaves. His greatest interest lie in preventing a war from occurring and keeping the Union whole. However, even he could not stop the outbreak of the Civil War.1.
             With the war just beginning, ex-slaves and other African Americans wanted to get in on the action. They wanted to fight against those who had enslaved both them and their families for generations. They began volunteering and trying to enlist, but everywhere they went they were rejected. "In general, white soldiers and officers believed that black men lacked the courage to fight and fight well.


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