Johnson´s Reconstruction Plan

By: Kennedy Knight


In 1865 President Andrew Johnson created a plan of Reconstruction that gave the South a free hand in regulating the transition from slavery to freedom and offered no role to blacks in the politics of the South. The control of the governments he established turned many Northerners against the president's policies.

Freemen´s Bureau (Johnson´s Response)

This was established in 1865 by Congress to help former black slaves and poor whites in the South in the aftermath of the U.S.The Freedmen’s Bureau provided food, housing and medical aid, established schools and offered legal assistance. Johnson felt the Bill was a Federal encroachment into state matters. Johnson felt this was "class legislation" for a particular segment of society that would keep the ex-slaves from working on their own, an had not been done for struggling whites. Johnson did not feel that Congress should be making these decisions for unrepresented states.

Civil Rights Act 1866 (Johnson´s Response)

The Civil Rights Act protected fundamental rights from state abuse, and required the states to guarantee equal treatment under the law to all citizens.

Black Codes

    These were laws passed by Southern states in 1865 and 1866, after the Civil War. These laws had the intent and the effect of restricting African Americans' freedom, and holding them to work in a labor economy based on low wages or debt.

    Examples from SC:

  • "No person of color shall migrate into and reside in this state, unless, within twenty days after his arrival within the same, he shall enter into a bond with two freeholders as sureties"
  • "Servants shall not be absent from the premises without the permission of the master"
  • Servants must assist their masters "in the defense of his own person, family, premises, or property"

    "No person of color could become an artisan, mechanic, or shopkeeper unless he obtained a license from the judge of the district court – a license that could cost $100 or more."

Written Response: Was life truly better for the freed slaves after the Civil War?

I don't believe life was better for the freed slaves after the war . Most freedmen were homeless after war because most had grown up only knowing how to work for their master and had no place to go. Although Washington created contraband camps for the freedmen that provided them clothes food and shelter , most freed slaves died of disease because of the overcrowded camps. Some slaves made the decision to stay with their master after the war because they didn't know what to look forward to, while other masters kept their slaves secretly .