Johnson's Plan

Post Civil War

Overview of Johnson's Reconstruction

  • Pardons giving to those who took a loyal oath

(not given to high Confederate officials or people owning $20000 or more of property)

  • State had to abolish slavery before being readmitted
  • Also had to repeal the states succession

Freedmen's Bureau

Established by Congress to help former black slaves and poor whites in the South in the aftermath of the Civil War, provided food, housing, medical aid, established schools and offered legal assistance. Also attempted to settle former slaves on Confederate lands abandoned during the war.
Johnson's Reaction :
  • vetoed and later overridden by Congress
  • he felt that targeting former slaves for special assistance would be detrimental to the South.

Civil Rights Act of 1866

This granted citizenship and the same rights enjoyed by white citizens to all male persons in the United States.
("without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude.")
Johnson's Reaction :
Vetoed twice
once in 1865 and again in 1866, but was overridden by Congress in 1866

Black Codes

Were designed to restrict freed blacks activity and still use their labor force now that slavery had been abolished.
South Carolina example:
  • "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.


America after the Civil War was not perfect, and was a struggling nation. Former slaves did not have it very well due to sneaky southerners trying to legally still have slavery. It was clear the fight for equal rights would be long fight. I don't think life was better for freed slaves but I feel that slaves mentality was building. It took a lot to abolish slavery and that was one major puzzle piece. There were still many aspects to get freed slaves the rights they were entitled too. Life was getting "better", but it was still a along road of reconstruction.