Johnson's Reconstruction

Ivan Ramirez

Overview of Johnson's Plan

  • Confederate states would be granted back into the union once they abolished slavery, and they repeal their succession ordinance.
  • Pardons would be granted to confederate citizens, as long as they weren't high ranking officials and didn't own more than $20,000 worth of land.
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Freedman's Bureau

What Was It?

  • The Freedman's Bureau is a government organization that was tasked with providing freed slaves with food, housing, medical aid, proper schooling, legal assistance, and provide them with land that was confiscated from confederates.

Johnson's Response

  • Johnson responded negatively, preventing the program from doing it's job by depriving it of it's funding and personnel. And in 1872, congress shut down the bureau due to looming pressure from white southerners.

Civil Rights Act of 1866

What was it?

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was an act that declared that any person born on american soil, aside from Native Americans, would automatically be granted American citizenship.

Johnson's Response

  • Johnson's response to the Act was negative, and disagreed with the amount of federal intervention involved in the legislation. He tried to veto the law, though this was ineffective because congress chose to override the president's veto.

Black Codes

What was it?

  • Black codes were a set of laws in the south that restricted and prohibited the civil rights of people of color.

Examples in South Carolina

  1. South Carolina's black codes established a segregated court system for civil and criminal trials that involved an African American as the plaintiff or the defendant.
  2. The South Carolina codes allowed for another source of free labor, black orphans. The orphans were forced to work against their will, right up until they turned 21 for males, 18 for females.
  3. In South Carolina, black codes prohibited the marriage of interracial couples, saying that “Marriage between a white person and a person of color shall be illegal and void.”

Was life better for African Americans before or after the civil war?

In my opinion, life for African Americans was better post civil war. While yes, they still had a long way to go, and faced heavy discrimination during this time, it was better than them being forced into the labor of slavery. Also during this time, the fact that African American's could own land, could get married, and were recognized as citizens of the United States already put them further on the path to civil rights than they had been before the war.