Mississippi Black Codes

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Mississippi Black Codes

The black codes enacted in the Southern states in 1865 were a direct resistance to the nation’s plan for reconstruction after the Civil War. These codes were discriminatory laws put into place in response to the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments. These three amendments were established to give the freedmen rights such as citizenship, voting rights, equal protection, and the abolishment of slavery; however the black codes took away those very rights they had gained. Although black codes were put in effect all over the South, the Mississippi black codes were by far the most extensive. The Mississippi black codes temporarily undid all of the nation’s efforts to reconstruct after the war. The black codes in Mississippi were extremely effective in taking away all of the freedoms that the newly freed slaves had received. “Mississippi made insulting gestures and language by blacks a criminal offense. The codes barred blacks from jury duty (1).” Furthermore, blacks weren’t allowed to interracially marry with whites, own a gun, buy liquor, or even leave the residence of their “employer”, despite being granted rights by the nation (2).
This made the freedmen feel as if nothing had been accomplished by the incredibly bloody, civil war, and made the Confederates in Mississippi feel as if they had won. When Andrew Johnson took office, he was focused on unifying the country and allowed the black codes to continue in the South (1). With the nation’s government unwilling to get involved, Southern whites in states like Mississippi were free to treat their ex-slaves exactly as they always had.
Essentially, everything the freedmen gained during the reconstruction period was taken away by the institution of the black codes.

Works Cited
Roark, James L., Michael P. Johnson, Patricia Cline Cohen, Sarah Stage, Alan Lawson, Susan M. Hartmann. The American Promise. a Compact History. New York: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2006.



Cited: Roark, James L., Michael P. Johnson, Patricia Cline Cohen, Sarah Stage, Alan Lawson, Susan M. Hartmann. The American Promise. a Compact History. New York: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2006. Long, William R. The Black Codes of 1865-1866. http://www.drbilllong.com/LegalEssays/Blac kCodes.html. 8/7/05.

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