Black Codes in the Former Confederate States
Encouraged by President Johnson's evident intention to return to them the management of their own affairs, Southern legislators, elected by white voters, passed what came to be called Black Codes. Their very evident purpose was to reduce free blacks to a new kind of legal servitude distinguished by all the disadvantages of slavery and none of its advantages--a state, many argued, that was worse than slavery itself. That the Black Codes were not the result of a brief lapse in judgment on the part of Southern legislatures or the work of extremists but rose, rather, out of the famous grassroo…
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