Essays on The Enactment of Southern Black Codes in 1865 Essay

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The paper "The Enactment of Southern Black Codes in 1865" is a perfect example of an essay on history. The so-called Black Codes of  1865 – 1866 were a series of laws passed by defeated Southern states of the Confederacy to control the newly-freed black slaves. In essence, these laws or codes sought to restore the pre-war order of slavery through supposedly legal means. After Abraham Lincoln was assassinated five days after the end of the Civil War, it was his vice president Andrew Johnson who succeeded him into office; Johnson was a Southerner and is sympathetic to the aims of former white slave owners to restore the old order in the South.

The original Reconstruction Plan of Lincoln was changed by Johnson (Zuczek 80) to reflect the desires of white Southerners to deny freed slaves their civil and political rights.   The Union federal government established the Freedmen's Bureau to help blacks in a transition to a life of liberty such as establishing schools for them, helping them find work, to mediate in wage disputes, and in general, allow blacks to learn how to exercise their freedom.

The Southern Black Codes were passed by individual Southern states to negate the objectives of the Freedmen's Bureau; many of these laws were passed and adopted by white-only South state conventions designed to control the movement of newly-freed black slaves by restricting their freedoms like denying black children the right to attend free public schools (CRF para. 6). More seriously, the codes disenfranchised the blacks by denying them the right to vote. Without suffrage, blacks were helpless against such laws as they could not participate in the making and passing of laws that discriminated against them in so many ways.

This era in the South started the Jim Crow period when laws were increasingly harsh and vindictive. It started the pattern of discrimination against blacks which continued until the 1960s when the Civil Rights Movement tried to change the situation but injustices persisted even today.

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