Johnson's Plan

By Siddhi Patel

Overview of Johnson's Plan

  1. Each state had to withdraw its secession and swear allegiance to Union.
  2. Ratify the 13th Amendment
  3. No pardons to high ranking Confederates or owning property over $20,000..

Freedmen's Bureau

What it was:
  • Formally known as Freedmen and Abandoned Lands
  • Established in 1865 by Congress to help former black slaves, and poor whites, in the South after the Civil War
  • This Bureau provided food, housing, medical aid, schooling, and legal assistance to those who need it.

Johnson's Response:

  • He vetoed the legislation
  • Said that it interfered with States' rights
  • Claimed that it showed preference to one group of citizens over another
  • Stated that it would impose a huge financial burden on the federal government

Civil Rights Act 1866

What it was:
  • This bill was introduced by Lyman Trumbull
  • It stated that "all persons born in the United States," except Natives, are now considered to be citizens of the United States.
  • It granted all citizens "full and equal benefit of all laws."

Johnson's Response:

  • Disagreed with the amount of government intervention the bill called for.

Black Codes

What it was:
  • Applied to ONLY Blacks
  • Included anyone with more that one-eighth Negro blood


  • The Southern Black Codes restricted their CIVIL RIGHTS. Though the state of South Carolina formally acknowledged the marriages between black people, it also went on to say that marriage between a black person and a white person would be illegal.
  • The South Carolina Code also included Labor Contracts between black "servants" and white "masters." The form allowed white masters to whip and discipline black servants and ensured that they did not quit before the end date listed on the contract. On the other hand, the contract protected servants from "unreasonable" tasks.
  • The Southern Black Codes relied on Vagrancy Laws to pressure freedmen to sign labor contracts. The code stated that homeless people could be arrested. But the county sheriff could "hire out" black drifters to white employers to allow them to work off their punishment.

Better or Worse?

The Blacks after the Civil War enjoyed many rights. They could vote, attend school, and even sue in court. But despite this, life for many Southern blacks was far from perfect. Black Codes limited many opportunities that should have been available to blacks. It restricted intermarriage, allowed punishment to be given to black "servants," and stated that the homeless blacks could get arrested and "hire out" to work off punishment. Life for many Blacks was not much different than before because many men were denied social and economic rights and were tied to the lad of farm owners. In other words, this was a continuation of slavery.