The 54th Massachusetts' Volunteer Infantry Regiment Research Paper by scribbler

The 54th Massachusetts' Volunteer Infantry Regiment
An in-depth examination of the 54th Massachusetts' Volunteer Infantry regiment during the Civil War and how it reflected the inequality faced by blacks at the time.
# 152726 | 4,940 words | 15 sources | APA | 2013 | US

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The paper explores the story of the 54th Massachusetts' Volunteer Infantry regiment and shows how it provides evidence for the fact that the Civil War, while fought over slavery, was not fought because of a desire to give African Americans greater civil rights. The paper provides some background on the early years of America when the European colonists brought over Africans to work as slaves and did not consider them American citizens and then discusses how while the Emancipation Proclamation helped legitimize efforts to free the slaves, blacks were not welcomed into the military until 1863, after the beginning of the Civil War. The paper describes the support the regiment had from northern abolitionists but reveals that post-war accounts by soldiers of the 54th were largely dismissed by whites and members of the 54th faced discrimination from whites in the army as well as discrimination in pay. The paper looks at the Battle of Fort Wagner and notes that while blacks may have proved their equality on the battlefields of the Civil War they were not to attain the much-sought legal and factual equality. The paper concludes that the story of blacks in America reflects the fact that they were simultaneously an important part of American history but also a marginalized group.

From the Paper:

"Modern Confederate sympathizers decry the idea that the Civil War was fought over slavery. Instead, they insist that the Civil War was fought over states rights. This statement is partially true, but it is also wholly irrelevant, because the state right at issue in the war was the right to permit its occupants to own slaves. While slavery is a moral issue today, it is important to recall that slavery was an American institution. To understand how critical slavery was to the establishment of America, one actually has to revise one's ideas about who the first non-Native Americans were. The first Americans did not land in Plymouth and establish a colony there. On the contrary, Europeans settled further south, though their colonies did not see the same level of success as the Plymouth colony. These colonists began relying on slave labor long before the establishment of other colonies. In fact, "In 1619, a year before the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, a Dutch slave ship landed the first twenty Africans at Jamestown" (Takaki, 2008, p.4). However, while some free blacks came to the colonies during their early days, the experience of the typical African immigrant to the United States varied tremendously from the experience of other immigrant groups because, by and large, Africans were the only group brought here unwillingly."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Appleton, J. (16 February 1863). "To colored men." (Advertisement) Boston Journal. Retrieved August 8, 2010 from American Studies at the University of Virginia website:
  • Burchard, P. (1989). One gallant rush: Robert Gould Shaw and his brave Black Regiment. New York: St. Martin's Press.
  • Cox, C. (2007). Undying glory: the story of the Massachusetts 54th regiment. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc.
  • Davis, J. (23 December 1862). "Proclamation regarding captured black soldiers." Retrieved August 8, 2010 from University of Maryland, College Park website:
  • Diner, H. (1983). Erin's daughters in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

The 54th Massachusetts' Volunteer Infantry Regiment (2013, April 22) Retrieved September 19, 2021, from

MLA Format

"The 54th Massachusetts' Volunteer Infantry Regiment" 22 April 2013. Web. 19 September. 2021. <>