Civil Rights Act of 1866 Facts

April 9, 1866

Key facts about the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

Portrait of Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull

On January 5, 1866, Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull introduced “A Bill to protect all persons in the United States in their civil rights, and furnish a means for their vindication,” more commonly known as the Civil Rights Act of 1866. [Wikimedia Commons]

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  • On January 5, 1866 Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull introduced “A Bill to protect all persons in the United States in their civil rights, and furnish a means for their vindication.”
  • The U.S. Senate approved the Civil Rights Act of 1866 on February 2, 1866.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Civil Rights Act of 1866 on March 13, 1866.
  • President Andrew Johnson vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 on March 27, 1866.
  • Opponents of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 argued that Congress did not have authority to enact the proposal because the constitutional power to protect or extend the civil rights of individuals was vested in the states, not the federal government.
  • Congress voted to override President Andrew Johnson’s veto of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 on April 9, 1866.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1866 validated the citizenship of former slaves and endowed them with specific, federally guaranteed, civil rights. The act also established various methods of enforcement by executive and judicial officials, and imposed penalties and punishments on officials for failing to enforce the law.
  • Due to concerns about constitutional challenges to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the measure was superseded in 1868 by the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, which duplicated much of the original act’s intent.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1866 affirmed that former slaves possessed the same legal rights as whites, but it said nothing in regard to their political or social rights.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Civil Rights Act of 1866 Facts
  • Coverage April 9, 1866
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date December 8, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 26, 2022

Civil Rights Act of 1866 Facts is Part of the Following on AHC

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