American History – Reconstruction – Part 3

Congressional plan of Reconstruction

It was not product of one act or session but many and a longer period of time.

Black Codes:

  1. Enacted in 1865 to ensure white supremacy.
  2. It conferred some rights of citizenship upon Negros.
  3. They were not to testify in case of white persons.
  4. Not to bear arms.
  5. Not to serve on juries.
  6. Not to vote.
  7. Liable to be arrested if sound idle.( jobs were closed for them)

These were passed by southern states as 1. Feared that Negros will upraise 2. Felt that Negros weren’t ready for the share of government. This was the way the southerners dealt with “Negro Problem”. They thought that the black codes were completely logical but the northerners found it unacceptable. They considered it to be an attempt to bring back slavery in another name.

Freedman’s Bureau Bill

The congress setup this bill to protect and provide for the newly emancipated Negros.

  1. The Negros demanded too much freedom and lived by petty thievery.
  2. They were allotted 40 acre land and a mule.
  3. Disputes were settled by agents from Freedman Bureau.
  4. Schools and medical care was provided.
  5. The bureau was resented by the south that it interfered in their local affairs.
  6. The members of the bureau were considered to be incompetent and inefficient by the south.
  7. The radical republican felt that the south was re-introducing slavery through black codes.
  8. Taking this as challenge, a New Freedman’s act was pushed by congress in 1866.
  9. It authorized the president to establish military control over the state that dealt unfairly over freedmen.
  10. However, the president vetoed the bill on grounds and it widened the gap between president and congress.
  11. However, the congress passed a bill over the veto in which the powers of the bureau were enlarged in 1866.