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QUEST FOR FREEDOM AND EQUALITY BY MRJoNES Very few of the presidents of the United States have been responsive to the African American quest for freedom and equality Some of them in fact have been rather hostile An example would be when President Andrew Jackson vetoed civil rights legislation and the Freedmens Bureau Act When Congress overrode his veto he still refused to carry out the law and this lead to his impeachment Most of the presidents however have been largely silent on the issues of race President Roosevelt spent 13 years in office without taking a stand on racial discrimination Despite declaring that racism was morally wrong President Kennedy too was reluctant to take a risk by supporting civil rights legislation Even when he issued Executive Order 11063 banning discrimination in federally assisted housing he did so reluctantly The Supreme Court has historically been against the African American quest for freedom and equality They were so much against African American rights that in the case of Dredd Scott v Sanford Chief Justice Taney went on record to echo the sentiments of the entire court system stating that the rights of African Americans were not universal but rather existed only as whites might choose to grant them During the post-Reconstruction era the Supreme Court also ignored the intent of the framers of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and declared unconstitutional several civil rights laws Historically the Congresss response to the African American quest for freedom and equality has been very patchy but it was still the most responsive of the three branches of government In 1787 Congress through the Northwest Ordinance Act banned slavery in the new territories of the upper Midwest Then in 1808 Congress abolished the slave trade During the Civil War in 1862 Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia From 1866 to 1875 Congress passed six civil rights bills including three civil rights enforcement acts Between
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