Looking Black On Today: In 1866 Black People Were Granted Citizenship When Congress Passed Civil Rights Bill of 1866

1 Posted by - April 10, 2015 - CIVIL RIGHTS, CIVIL WAR, LATEST POSTS, Looking Black On Today, POLITICS, RECONSTRUCTION, SLAVERY

In April 1866, the Civil Rights Bill passed the House of the United States Government.  This bill, initially had been vetoed by then U.S. President Andrew Johnson. However, the House overturned his veto, and signed the historical bill into law. The bill was passed nearly unanimously via Republican Party support. The vote count to pass this bill was 122 to 41. This was the first time that Congress supported any bill that was related or of importance to Civil Rights.  The bill was one of the first major steps in America’s long journey on the road to equality for people.

When this bill was signed into law, it affirmed that anyone born in the United States of America outside of Native Americans was considered a legal citizen.  This citizenship was granted regardless to whether or not the persons had been slaves or not. This bill allowed said people to have equal rights, and be protected legally as other U.S. citizens had been.  This bill also allowed for the right to own property.  The bill also allowed for blacks to finally vote. Those who passed the bill felt that it was the next logical step after the 13th Amendment act passed in late 1865. While this bill allowed for rights to blacks in America, many wondered how they were going to survive as free men. This was a result of many being held captive in slavery for an extended amount of time.  Slavery was the only way of life known to them.  Others, however looked forward to economic independence, and becoming wealthy, and finally being free.

President Johnson, again highly disagreed with the Civil Rights Bill. He stated that he regretted that the bill had passed the House.  This disagreement ultimately contributed to his impeachment. President Johnson was the first president in United States history to be impeached.

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