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Thirteenth Amendment

- Signed to the constitution in 1865 stating
‘Neither slave nor involuntary servitude…
shall exists within the United States, or any
place subject to their jurisdiction’

- With the surrender of the Confederate
states in April 1865, the entire south
became within the Union’s jurisdiction and,
therefore, slaves became free.


Why was there uncertainty towards the African Population in 1865

-At the end of the Civil War the southern
states were devastated: buildings, roads
and railways had been destroyed, law and
order had completely broken down. It must
be said that for Southerners, their lives had
been completely devastated by the war.

- Slavery had been an extremely important
part of southerner’s way of life, its abolition
was a huge blow to the southern state

- There was a level of sympathy towards the
southerns by the end of the civil war within
Federal Government and this impacted the
limited gains of African Americans

- Even the Idea of African Americans having
the same rights and status as whites was
considered impractical as the likelihood of
tensions flaring in the south were likely as
African Americans were seen more as
property rather than citizens.


What was the solution to the problem of the freed slaves in 1865

- The practical solution became ‘share
cropping’, under this system, White
landowners allowed former slaves to
work on their land in return for a
considerable share of what was

- In most cases share cropping was
simply another form of slavery

- Many faced extreme violence


Explain the branches of the U.S government

Legislature - Congress and House of

Executive - President

Judiciary - Supreme Court : safeguards the constitution. Acts to make the law clear and to decide, when asked, whether laws passed are constitutional or not


What was significant about state governments that gave them power and leverage over the course of the civil rights movement

State assembly has the power to pass laws, control the police, education health, etc, can impose punishments for breaches of state law (e.g. death penalty)

- Can establish laws and punishments for
black people (most of which that were
different to those of whites)


How did Congress support civil rights

- Congress was particularly supportive of
Civil rights in this period
- Many in Congress were eager to take
action in support of Civil Rights
- ‘Radical Republicans’ such as Thaddeus
Stevens and Senator Charles Sumner
were examples of these progressive
congressmen who used their persuasive
methods and influential privileges to
become advocates for change.

Led to the passing of two acts and one amendment:

1. First Reconstruction Act (1867)
2. Fourteenth Amendment (1868)
3. Fifteenth Amendment (1870)


First Reconstruction Act (1867)

The eleven Confederate states were divided into five military districts. There were to be new state constitutions made by elected delegates whatever race, colour or previous status


Fourteenth Amendment (1868)

Passed in June 1866, declared that no state could deny any person full rights of an American citizen. ‘Equal protection of all laws and to all the rights, privileges and immunities of citizens.’

citizenship rights extended to African Americans, guaranteeing them equal protection of the laws


Fifteenth Amendment (1870)

This ensured-that ‘the rights of citizens… shall not be denied or abridged by any state on account of race’

Gave voting rights to black men


How did President Johnson restrict the supportive measures of Congress

- Took office in 1865 after Lincolns
- Aimed at a quick return to normality
- For Johnson, the issue was the Union,
not the rights of African Americans
- Johnson wanted to keep former slaves
in some sort of second status to avoid
competition with whites

- Johnson oversaw the passing of the
highly discriminatory Black Codes
- Vetoed Freemen’s Bureau


Black codes

- Restricted the right of African
Americans to compete for work with white people

- Gave states the right to punish vagrants
and unemployed former slaves

- Gave states the right to return vagrants
and unemployed former slaves to forced


Freedmen’s Bureau

- Established in 1865 by Congress to help
millions of former black slaves and poor
whites in the South in the aftermath of the
Civil War.

- The Freedmen’s Bureau provided food,
housing and medical aid, established
schools and offered legal assistance. It also
attempted to settle former slaves on land
confiscated or abandoned during the war.

- Johnson vetoed the proposed legislation
on the grounds that it interfered with states’
rights, gave preference to one group of
citizens over another and would impose a
huge financial burden on the federal
government, among other issues.

- He ensured it remained underfunded and
sacked members who were too
sympathetic to the black cause

- However it fed millions of people, built
hospitals and provided medical aid,
negotiated labor contracts for ex-slaves
and settled labor disputes.


Negro Republican Party

- Formed in 1867
- Held conventions and gained a substantial
-Promoted the cause for the African
American vote in Southern States
- Achieved little due to the lack of support
from white Republicans and the severity of


Frederick Douglas

- Was a social reformer who reached
prominence due to his activism during the
American civil war.

- In 1872, Douglass became the first African
American nominated for Vice President in
the United States.

- This was a significant development, it
showed the American population the worth
of African Americans, that they could
provide beneficiaries in politics and,
therefore, changed the attitude of many
prejudiced white citizens.

- However, his impact was limited as he
struggled to bring the black voice together,
focusing on the workers unions, which in
this period was not where the African
Americans of greatest need were situated


How did State Governments restrict the civil rights movement in this period

- Southern states had to accept the end
of slavery but frequently introduced
Black Codes which discriminated
against former slaves in employment,
justice, voting and education.

- The Fourteenth Amendment to the
constitution outlawed the Black Codes,
but was only ratified by one southern

- However, it must be addressed that
State Governments in the South were
under extreme pressure to restrict the
rights of African Americans

- From 1868 elections in many southern
states were increasingly surrounded by
violence to suppress black voting.


How did Rifle Clubs in this period restrict the civil rights of African Americans

- Had thousands of members.

- In 1874, paramilitary groups, such as the
White League and Red Shirts emerged

- Worked openly to use intimidation and
violence to suppress black voting and
disrupt the Republican Party to regain
white political power in states across the