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The impact of black codes in society

  1. The North had lost interest in helping Southern blacks. These laws stayed in effect until the 1950s and 1960s, when the civil rights movement launched an all-out campaign against them.
  2. Support for Reconstruction policies waned after the early 1870s, undermined by the violence of white supremacist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan. The first Black Code, enacted by Mississippi, proved harsh and vindictive.
  3. Even their marriages were outside the law. The battles with Johnson led ultimately in 1868 to his impeachment by the House, the first impeachment of a president in American history.
  4. Apprenticeship Southern Black Codes provided another source of labor for white employers—black orphans and the children of vagrants or other destitute parents. The battles with Johnson led ultimately in 1868 to his impeachment by the House, the first impeachment of a president in American history.

But the war also left them landless and with little money to support themselves. White Southerners, seeking to control the freedmen former slavesdevised special state law codes. Many Northerners saw these codes as blatant attempts to restore slavery. The task of reuniting the nation fell on his shoulders.

  • The premise behind chattel slavery in America was that slaves were property, and, as such, they had few or no legal rights;
  • These laws stayed in effect until the 1950s and 1960s, when the civil rights movement launched an all-out campaign against them;
  • It tried to make sure that the former slaves received fair wages and freely chose their employers;
  • This provision hit free blacks already living in Charleston and former slave artisans especially hard;
  • The black codes enacted immediately after the American Civil War, though varying from state to state, were all intended to secure a steady supply of cheap labour, and all continued to assume the inferiority of the freed slaves;
  • By 1868, most states had repealed the remains of discriminatory Black Code laws.

A Southerner, Johnson favored readmitting the Southern states as quickly as possible into the Union. He appointed military governors who held complete power in the former Confederate states until new civilian governments could be organized. Little thought had been given to the needs of the newly emancipated slaves.

It furnished food and medical aid to the former slaves. It also established schools for the freedmen. The impact of black codes in society 1870, a quarter million black children and adults attended more than 4,000 of these schools in the South.

It tried to make sure that the former slaves received fair wages and freely chose their employers. The bureau created special courts to settle disputes between black workers and their white employers. It could also intervene in other cases that threatened the rights of freedmen. They sought to restore self-rule. During the summer and fall of 1865, most of the old Confederate states held constitutional conventions.

Not surprisingly, none of the state conventions considered extending the right to vote to the freedmen. Often, ex-Confederate leaders won elections for state government offices and for U. The newly formed state legislatures quickly authorized many needed public projects and the taxes to pay for them. Among these projects was the creation, for the first time in the South, of free public education.

But the public schools excluded black children. The state legislatures also began to pass laws limiting the freedom of the former slaves. These laws mirrored those of colonial times, which placed severe restrictions on both slaves and emancipated blacks. Neither of these groups could vote, serve on juries, travel freely, or work in occupations of their choice. Even their marriages were outside the law.

The white legislators saw little reason not to continue the tradition of unequal treatment of black persons. An editorial in the Macon, Georgia, Daily Telegraph reflected the widely held opinion of the white South at this time: During the last months of 1865, a rumor spread among freedmen: Although the federal government had confiscated some Confederate lands and given them to freed slaves, it never planned to do this on a massive scale.

Nonetheless, expecting their own plots of land, blacks in large numbers refused to sign work contracts with white landowners for the new year. At the same time, Southern whites passed around their own rumor that blacks would rise in rebellion when the free land failed to appear on Christmas Day.

All these economic worries, prejudices, and fears helped produce the first Black Codes of 1865. These codes consisted of special laws that applied only to black persons. The first Black Code, enacted by Mississippi, proved harsh and vindictive. Its major features included the following: They mainly restricted their rights. But the codes did grant black persons a few more civil rights than they possessed before the Civil War.

The contract had to be witnessed and then approved by a judge. Other provisions of the code listed the rights and obligations of the servant and master.

  1. This provision hit free blacks already living in Charleston and former slave artisans especially hard. The Senate failed to convict him by one vote.
  2. The courts customarily waived such punishment for white vagrants, allowing them to take an oath of poverty instead. It was Northern reaction to the black codes as well as to the bloody antiblack riots in Memphis, Tennessee, and New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1866; see New Orleans Race Riot that helped produce Radical Reconstruction 1865—77 and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the U.
  3. The 14th Amendment passed, and a new Congress hostile to the South was elected. This time the freedmen voted and participated.
  4. This provision hit free blacks already living in Charleston and former slave artisans especially hard. Many factors had helped kill Reconstruction.
  5. A Southerner, Johnson favored readmitting the Southern states as quickly as possible into the Union. Former slaves were forbidden to carry firearms or to testify in court, except in cases concerning other blacks.

Vagrancy All Southern Black Codes relied on vagrancy laws to pressure freedmen to sign labor contracts. The code provided that vagrants could be arrested and imprisoned at hard labor.

The courts customarily waived such punishment for white vagrants, allowing them to take an oath of poverty instead. Apprenticeship 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.

Most of these crimes carried the death penalty for blacks, but not for whites.

Black code

Also, blacks could not practice any occupation, except farmer or servant under contract, without getting an annual license from a judge. They accused Southern whites of trying to restore slavery. Congress refused to seat Southerners elected under the new state constitutions. A special congressional committee investigated whether white Southern Reconstruction should be allowed to continue.

Fearing the impact of black codes in society their self-rule was in jeopardy, the two states revised and moderated their codes. Christmas Day came without either the free land that freedmen had hoped for or the bloody rebellion that whites had dreaded.

Instead, as the new year began, freedmen all over the South signed labor contracts and went back to work. Under the less tense conditions in 1866, most other former Confederate states wrote Black Codes that paid more attention to the legal equality of whites and blacks. But the belated efforts of the white Southerners to treat the freedmen more fairly under the law came too late.

Along with the Black Codes, other events helped alter the course of Reconstruction: The 14th Amendment passed, and a new Congress hostile to the South was elected. This Congress took control of Reconstruction. When President Johnson vetoed its Reconstruction legislation, Congress overrode his vetoes.

The battles with Johnson led ultimately in 1868 to his impeachment by the House, the first impeachment of a president in American history. The Senate failed to convict him by one vote.

Under the direction of Congress, most Southern states held new constitutional conventions in 1867—68. This time the freedmen voted and participated.

The resulting new state constitutions guaranteed the right of black adult males to vote and run for public office. For the first time, some blacks won election to Southern state legislatures and to Congress.

By 1868, most states had repealed the remains of discriminatory Black Code laws. But Reconstruction did not last long. By 1877, it was dead. The North had lost interest in helping Southern blacks. Many factors had helped kill Reconstruction: Southern states began trying to end black voting. By 1910, all Southern states had excluded blacks from voting. These laws made it illegal for blacks and whites to share public facilities.

This meant that blacks and whites had to use separate schools, hospitals, libraries, restaurants, hotels, bathrooms, and drinking fountains. These laws stayed in effect until the 1950s and 1960s, when the civil rights movement launched an all-out campaign against them. Supreme Court declared these laws unconstitutional, and the U. Congress passed Civil Rights legislation ensuring equal rights for all citizens. Northerners protested that the Black Codes of South Carolina and other Southern states attempted to restore slavery.

Do you agree or disagree? Do you think that the U. Why or why not?