By: Bianca Soto

Johnson's Reconstruction...

Johnson called for each state to withdraw from the confederacy and pledge allegiance to the US. They all also had to ratify the 13th amendment.

Issues That Came Upon His Construction:

Freedmen's Bureau

The Bureau was established in the War Department in 1865 to undertake the relief effort and the social reconstruction that would bring freed people to full citizenship. It issued food and clothing, operated hospitals and temporary camps, helped locate family members, promoted education, helped freedmen legalize marriages, provided employment, supervised labor contracts, provided legal representation, investigated racial confrontations, settled freedmen on abandoned or confiscated lands, and worked with African American soldiers and sailors and their heirs to secure back pay and bounty payments.

Civil Rights Act 1866

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 became law on April 9, 1866, by a two-thirds majority overriding President Andrew Johnson’s veto. The first aim of the Act was to provide federal protection to emancipated African Americans, giving practical effect to the Thirteenth Amendment. It was the first in a series of Reconstruction- era Civil Rights Acts.

Black Codes

Black Codes were designed to restrict freed blacks’ activity and ensure their availability as a labor force now that slavery had been abolished.

Courts, Crimes, and Punishments

South Carolina’s Black Code established a racially separate court system for all civil and criminal cases that involved a black plaintiff or defendant. It allowed black witnesses to testify in court, but only in cases affecting “the person or property of a person of color.” Crimes that whites believed freedmen might commit, such as rebellion, arson, burglary, and assaulting a white woman, carried harsh penalties. Most of these crimes carried the death penalty for blacks, but not for whites. Punishments for minor offenses committed by blacks could result in “hiring out” or whipping, penalties rarely imposed on white lawbreakers.


Southern Black Codes provided another source of labor for white employers—black orphans and the children of vagrants or other destitute parents. The South Carolina code authorized courts to apprentice such black children, even against their will, to an employer until age 21 for males and 18 for females. Masters had the right to inflict moderate punishment on their apprentices and to recapture runaways. But the code also required masters to provide food and clothing to their apprentices, teach them a trade, and send them to school.


All Southern Black Codes relied on vagrancy laws to pressure freedmen to sign labor contracts. South Carolina’s code did not limit these laws to unemployed persons, but included others such as peddlers and gamblers. The code provided that vagrants could be arrested and imprisoned at hard labor. But the county sheriff could “hire out” black vagrants to a white employer to work off their punishment. The courts customarily waived such punishment for white vagrants, allowing them to take an oath of poverty instead.

Was Life Better for Newly Freed Slaves After the War?

I do not believe life was any better for the slaves. They were still subject to mistreatment and racism. They still had no true freedom. For example most of the Black Codes called for slaves to be under the white man. No true rights. While the white man was still above any slave in society.