African-Americans

Black Codes

The three main laws—with their extensive articles—that comprised South Carolina’s Black Codes addressed three general areas: new rights following abolition, new restrictions following abolition, and more specific decrees directed toward the labor issue. After four years of war, Republicans in Congress were not ready to accept a social, economic, and political return to the antebellum years. With the convening of Congress in December 1865, Republicans set out first to overturn the Black Codes; then to sweep away President Andrew Johnson, the South’s last defender; and finally to establish a new social, economic, and political order in the South.

Blease, Coleman Livingston

As governor, Blease emphasized individual freedom for whites and racism. He opposed government regulation, even if its purpose was to benefit the same mill workers to whom he appealed. He denounced an act to limit working hours for mill employees, believing it interfered with parents’ control over their children. He vetoed legislation to inspect factories for safety and health considerations, stating that a man ought to be able to work under any conditions he chose. He opposed compulsory education as an attempt to replace parents with “the paid agents of the State in the control of children,” and he vetoed four compulsory attendance bills while governor.

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