Reconstruction Period

Jacob Nelosn

Overview of Johnson Plan

Johnson's plan for reconstruction did very slightly from President Lincoln's plan. The First part stated that each southern state had to withdraw its succesion and swear allegience to the union. The Second part included the ratification of the thirteenth amendment. The thirteenth amendment to the constitution abolished slavery across the entire nation. Finally, Johnson wanted no pardons to high ranking officials of the confederate army. In the end Johnson's view of reconstruction was very simple and basic.

Free Man's Bureau

The Free Man's Bureau was an agency established by the government after the Civil War to provide aid to black slaves and poor white people in the south. The Agency provided food, water, housing, legal assistence, and medical aid. President Johnson greatly opposed and vetoed the bill. He claimed that the bureau took away from states rights, provided a huge financial burden , and favored one race over another.

Civil Rights Act 1866

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 overturned President Johnson's veto to the Free Man's Bureau. The Act granted citizenship to all people born in the US except native americans. Also, the act granted total and equal benefit to the laws for all people in the nation. Johnson also disagreed with this act stating “another step, or rather a stride, toward centralization and the concentration of all legislative power in the national Government." He once again vetoed the bill but it was again overturned in congress and became the law of the land.

Black Codes

Black codes were laws passed by southern states after the civil war. They limited the rights of African Americans and compelled them to work for low wages. Examples of the black codes included labor contracts which included a notarized agreement between a black person, "servant", and a white person, "master." that discussed wages and the residency of the servant which had to be the residence of his employer. Another example included vagrancy laws which required free men to sign unfair labor contracts. Finally, another example includes a separate court system for the black community. This court system included unfair and outrageous punishments for only black people.

Were Freed Slaves Lives Better?

I believe that freed slave lives were better post civil war but they were still treated unfairly and inhumane. Prior to the civil war the black community in the south was forced to work for no money and most of the time were beaten by their owners. The slaves were viewed as property instead of human. After the civil war they received their constitutional freedom. The former slaves now worked for money and could mostly own land. However, many people, especially in the south, still had hatred toward the African Americans and paid them unfairly low wages. The Black codes were put into place to restrict the freed men of their new rights. A few white people even started hurting or killing the black community. In the end, their is no question that the newly freed men's lives were better, but still they were not treated with the same amount dignity and respect as everyone else.