Civil Rights Act of 1875 History for kids: When were the other Civil Rights Acts?
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was one of many pieces of legislation that were entitled the Civil Rights Act. Additional Civil Rights Acts were passed in the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the 1871 Civil Rights Act (aka Enforcement Acts), and the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1991.
Civil Rights Act of 1875 History for kids
The history of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 started with the Civil Rights Act of 1866 which had been passed to protect ex-slaves from legislation in the Southern States such as the Black Codes. This had led to the emergence of white, militant secret societies such as Ku Klux Klan. Congress passed the Enforcement Acts to ensure the implementation and extend the fundamental guarantees of the Constitution especially in respect of the 13th Amendment, passed in 1865, which abolished slavery, the 14th Amendment passed in 1868 which related to citizenship rights and the 15th Amendment passed in 1870, that declared the voting rights of of black male citizens.
What did the Civil Rights Act of 1875 do?
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 protected all American citizens, regardless of race, in their access to public accommodations and facilities such as churches, cemeteries, public schools, theaters, restaurants, inns, trains and other public transportation, and protected the right of all American citizens to serve on juries. The provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 also included that all lawsuits brought under the new law would be tried in federal, not state, courts and specified criminal penalties for violations including fines between $500 - $1000 and up to 30 days in jail.
Purpose of the Civil Rights Act of 1875
The purpose of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was to clarify and expand the equality and freedom of ex-slaves. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 sought to guarantee African Americans "full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges".
Who introduced the Civil Rights Act of 1875
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was originally introduced in 1870 by the radical Republican Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts and Representative Benjamin F. Butler. Congress passed the act in February 1875 and President Ulysses Grant signed it into law on March 1, 1875.
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 and the Constitution
When the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was passed was believed to be supported under the 13th and 14th Amendments.
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 declared Unconstitutional
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was extremely controversial and practically ignored in the Southern states. The law was rarely enforced, especially after the withdrawal of federal troops from the South at the end of the Reconstruction Era. Southern whites were also beginning to reassert control over state legislatures and a series of five cases made their way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the 1883 Civil Rights Cases, the Supreme Court declared the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional on the basis that, although the 14th Amendment prohibited discrimination by the state, it did not give the state the power to prohibit discrimination by private individuals. The 13th Amendment merely abolished slavery and the 14th Amendment never intended to interfere with issues of day-to-day governance within the states.
Significance of the Civil Rights Act of 1875
The ruling by the Supreme Court in the 1883 Civil Rights Cases, gave constitutional foundation to the Jim Crow Laws that emerged in the South which enabled racial bigotry to survive, in the name of states’ rights, until the 1960s. The significance of the failure of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was that the attitude to the rights and social status of African Americans had to wait nearly one hundred years for change in the 1960's and the effect of the Civil Rights Movement.