To the right is an image of a former slave having to sell himself in order to pay his debt as a sharecropper. What does this mean in terms of whether slavery was really over or had been replaced by another kind? Southern whites mostly returned prominent Confederates and old elites to power and violence against freedpeople and northerners in the South generated opposition to Johnson’s policies. White southerners also enacted BLACK CODES, which were state laws that regulated the lives of former slaves. What did the BLACK CODES do? • While these laws gave blacks the right to legally marry, own property, and access the courts in some ways, they denied them rights to testify against whites, serve on juries or state militias, or VOTE • They also allowed authorities to arrest and hire out to white landowners any blacks who refused to sign annual labor contracts , a measure to force the former slaves to return to the plantations. • Some states prohibited blacks from buying land and allowed judges to assign black children to work for their former owners without parental consent. • These codes, an effort to reinstitute conditions of slavery, caused many in the North to believe that Johnson’s policy was encouraging white southerners to restore their prewar way of life.
The role of the federal government? To the right is a Democratic Party broadside from the election of 1866 uses racist imagery to argue that government assistance aids lazy former slaves at the expense of hardworking whites. Congress isn’t happy: Johnson didn’t do much about the Black Codes and in December 1865, he declared that the establishment of loyal governments in all southern states had reunited the nation. But Radical Republicans in Congress, who coalesced around opposition to Johnson’s policies, called for new state governments that would exclude “rebels” from power and guarantee the vote to blacks. The Radicals believed that the Union victory presented an opportunity to guarantee equal rights for all, despite race. They welcomed the expanded powers of the federal government and thought federalism and states’ rights could not prevent national efforts to secure equal rights. Consider this argument with what you learned in previous chapters about big versus small government.
Congress takes action and passes the 14 th Amendment Give Me Liberty!: An American History, 5th Edition Copyright © 2017 W. W. Norton & Company Frustrated with President Johnson poor reconstruction plan, by 1866 Republicans in Congress created their own Reconstruction plan. It soon passed and sent for ratification the Fourteenth Amendment, which placed in the Constitution the principle of citizenship for all persons born in the United States and empowered the federal government to protect the rights of all Americans.
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