Civil Rights Act of 1866: This act entitled African Americans citizenship and gave the federal government the power to protect their civil rights. This led to the drafting of the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing those civil rights.
The Civil Rights Act of 1866, passed by one vote over President Andrew Johnson's veto, granted full citizenship to all persons born on American soil, except Native Americans who were exempt from taxation. The law gave former slaves the rights to own property, enforce contracts, and give evidence in courts--rights not specifically guaranteed in the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery.
THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1866
Act of April 9, 1866
…and such citizens, of every race and color, without regard to any previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall have the same right, in every State and Territory in the United States, to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, and give evidence, to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property, and to full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property, as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, and penalties, and to none other, any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, to the contrary notwithstanding.
Stern Warning To
The jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters hereby conferred on the district and circuit courts of the United States shall be exercised and enforced in conformity with the laws of the United States, so far as such laws are suitable to carry the same into effect;
…but in all cases
where such laws are not adapted to the object, or are deficient in the
provisions necessary to furnish suitable remedies and punish offences
against law, the common law, as modified and changed by the constitution
and statutes of the State wherein the court having jurisdiction of the
cause, civil or criminal, is held, so far as the same is not inconsistent
with the Constitution and laws of the United States, shall be extended
to and govern said courts in the trial and disposition of such cause, and,
if of a criminal nature, in the infliction of punishment on the party
The Courts and
Officers of the Act
And with a view to affording reasonable protection to all persons in their constitutional rights of equality before the law, without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, and to the prompt discharge of the duties of this act, it shall be the duty of the circuit courts of the United States and the superior courts of the Territories of the United States, from time to time, to increase the number of commissioners, so as to afford a speedy and convenient means for the arrest and examination of persons charged with a violation of this act;
…and such commissioners are hereby authorized and required to exercise and discharge all the powers and duties conferred on them by this act,
…and the same duties with regard to
offences created by this act,
as they are authorized by law to exercise with regard to other offences
against the laws of the United States.
Military Enforcement of the Act
…and should any marshal or deputy marshal refuse to receive such warrant or other process when tendered, or to sue all proper means diligently to execute the same, he shall, on conviction thereof, be fined in the sum of one thousand dollars, to the use of the person upon whom the accused is alleged to have committed the offence.
And the better to enable the said commissioners to execute their duties faithfully and efficiently, in conformity with the Constitution of the United States and the requirements of this act, they are hereby authorized and empowered, within their counties respectively, to appoint, in writing, under their hands, any one or more suitable persons, from time to time, to execute all such warrants and other process as may be issued by them in the lawful performance of their respective duties;
…and the persons so appointed to execute any warrant or process as aforesaid shall have authority to summon and call to their aid the bystanders or posse comitatus of the proper county, or such portion of the land or naval forces of the United States, or of the militia, as may be necessary to the performance of the duty with which they are charged, and to insure a faithful observance of the clause of the Constitution which prohibits slavery, in conformity with the provisions of this act; and said warrants shall run and be executed by said officers anywhere in the State or Territory within which they are issued.
…or any person or persons lawfully assisting him or them, from arresting any person for whose apprehension such warrant or process may have been issued, or shall rescue or attempt to rescue such person from the custody of the officer, other person or persons, or those lawfully assisting as aforesaid, when so arrested pursuant to the authority herein given and declared, or shall aid, abet, or assist any person so arrested as aforesaid, directly or indirectly, to escape from the custody of the officer or other person legally authorized as aforesaid, or shall harbor or conceal any person for whose arrest a warrant or process shall have been issued as aforesaid,
…so as to prevent his discovery and
arrest after notice or knowledge of the fact that a
warrant has been issued for the
apprehension of such personal, shall, for either of said offences, be
subject to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, and imprisonment
not exceeding six months, by indictment and conviction before the
district court of the United States for
the district in which said offence may have been committed, or before the
proper court of criminal jurisdiction, if
committed within any one of the organized Territories of the United
Financial Compensation For Officers and
Courts of the Act
The person or persons authorized to execute the process to be issued by such commissioners for the arrest of offenders against the provisions of this act shall be entitled to a fee of five dollars for each person he or they may arrest and take before any such commissioner as aforesaid, with such other fees as may be deemed reasonable by such commissioner for such other additional services as may be necessarily performed by him or them,
…such as attending at the examination, keeping the prisoner in custody, and providing him with food and lodging during his detention, and until the final determination of such commissioner, and in general for performing such other duties as may be required in the premises;
…such fees to be made up in conformity
with the fees usually charged by the officers of
the courts of justice within the proper district or county, as near
as may be practicable, and paid out of the Treasury of the United
States on the certificate of the judge of the district within
which the arrest is made, and to be
recoverable from the defendant as part of the
judgment in case of conviction.
The Special Powers of the President
…and it shall be the duty of every judge
or other officer, when any such requisition shall be received by him, to
attend at the place and for the time therein designated.
Powers of the President, Commander In
The Power of the Supreme
The President of the United States having
returned to the Senate, in which it originated, the bill entitled
act to protect all persons in the United States in their civil rights, and
furnish the means of their vindication,"
with his objections thereto, the
Senate proceeded, in pursuance of
to reconsider the same; and,
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