On the Home page:     OFFICERS     MEETINGS     MEMBERSHIP     PROJECTS    

Republicans passed the first-ever Civil Rights Act

Grand Old Partisan Blog, April 8, 2008 - Michael Zak wrote,

On this day [April 8th] in 1866, the Republican-majority 39th Congress overrode a veto by the Democrat president, Andrew Johnson, to enact the 1866 Civil Rights Act. Every Democrat in Congress voted against it.

The purpose of the 1866 Civil Rights Act was to defend African-Americans from their Democrat oppressors in the post-Civil War South. There, Democrats had enacted black codes to impose near-slavery on African-Americans who had just been emancipated by the Republican Party's 13th Amendment.

Senator Lyman Trumbull (R-IL) wrote the 1866 Civil Rights Act, which conferred U.S. citizenship on former slaves and other African-Americans. The law granted African-Americans "full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property, as is enjoyed by white citizens." Republicans thereby accorded African-Americans the right to own property, engage in business, sign contracts and file lawsuits.

This was the first time Congress overrode a veto of a significant bill. Also, the 1866 Civil Rights Act contradicted the notorious Dred Scott decision, in which the seven Democrat Justices on the Supreme Court decreed that black people did not have constitutional rights. To prevent Democrats from someday repealing the Act, Republicans later enshrined its provisions as Article I of the 14th Amendment.

Sadly, Democrats defied the 1866 Civil Rights Act and other Republican reforms. Democrat oppression of African-Americans would not be overcome until the 1960's civil rights movement.

No comments:

Post a Comment