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History of Negro Citizenship
             HISTORY OF NEGRO CITIZENSHIP           703

tested; more than a year had elapsed since its inaugur-
ation. The South had had ample time to manifest her
purpose in the laws which she passed and in the acts of
violence which she made no effort to restrain.  The vic-
tory for liberty, won in war, was now in danger of be-
ing lost in peace. Whatever reluctance Congress may
have felt to break with President Johnson on this sub-
ject of reconstruction, was now removed; whatever hopes
the great mass of loyal people at the North who wished
well for the South, entertained that this unique experi-
ment in reconstruction would have a happy issue now
vanished. And yet a few facts of history are necessary
to show with what moderation and fairness the Repub-
lican party, then in full control of both houses of Con-
gress, treated the South on this grave subject.  When
the Southern legislators in the winter of 1865-66, were
engaged in enacting those unjust and oppressive, va-
grant and apprentice laws, already referred to which
subjected the freedmen to all the hardships of slavery
without any of its compensating features, Congress did
not at first resort to radical measures, but pursued a
course designed in part to counteract the evil effect of
these laws, and to convince the Southern leaders of the
folly of their course, and lead them to change it with-
out the pressure of external power.
  The first step in pursuance of this cautious and mod-
erate policy was the Civil Rights Bill, introduced into
the U. S. Senate by Senator Trumbull, of Illinois, and
which became a law April 9, 1866 over the President's
veto. This bill is not to be confounded with "the Civil
Rights Bill," which bears the name of Charles Sumner,
and whidh became a law in February, 1875, and was
repealed by the U. S. Supreme Court in 1883. The ob-
ject of Senator Trumbull's Bill was to put the colored
race on a footing of equality with others in the right
"to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give
evidence to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold and con-
vey real and personal property, and to full and equal


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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 15, Num. 3

History of Negro Citizenship


Volume:  15
Issue Number:  03
Page Number:  689
Date:  01/1899


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