The Black Codes

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After the Civil War ended, slavery was abolished. But, this made Southern White men angry. They believed that, white men were superior to anyone else and they wanted people to know it. So, they created a set of laws, passed in 1865 and 1866, to limit the civil rights of blacks, mainly freed slaves. These codes were mostly based on pre-existing slave codes. In some sense, the Black Codes did actually help freed slaves. They gave African Americans a few basic human rights, but not much more than that. Obviously, Whites had vastly more rights and civil liberties. Blacks were permit to own and sell personal land. They could even make contracts. Although these laws also forbade interracial marriage legally marry each other. No matter what right…show more content…
The true reason for all these oppressing laws is to make it illegal for blacks to remain unemployed. Of all things the Black Codes did, the ‘vagrancy laws’ were the most in depth, and punishing in comparison to all the other codes. In the most basic terms, those who weren’t employed were subject to arrest. They could also be presented a fine. Although that seems fair enough, if they could not pay their fine, they would be forced to work for someone who could. This involuntary work would continue until they had labored long enough to pay for the amount of the fine. It wasn’t much better for those who were actually working. The Black Codes allowed white Southerners to keep the wages of blacks low. Those who wanted better pay and asked for a higher wage were deemed a ‘vagrant’ and subject to the same penalties as the unemployed. The term vagrant was used vaguely. In South Carolina a vagrant was defined as a black who led a “disorderly” life. In Alabama a vagrant was a black who was “stubborn.” In Mississippi, blacks had to commit to jobs a year at a time. If they quit before the year was up they would not get paid for any of the work they had already done. They were worded to keep blacks from working at anything other than the jobs they had held as slaves. In South Carolina, for example, if blacks wanted to work as anything other than a farm laborer or house servant they were taxed up to $100 per

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