Unconstitutionality of the Civil Rights Bill

June 1, 1866


The current Civil Rights act is considered unconstitutional by many white Southerners. According to them, the Radicals who voted for it have convicted themselves for their unconstitutional measure.


Unconstitutionality of the Civil Rights Bill. We remarked yesterday that the present Civil Rights bill is clearly unconstitutional, and that the proposed amendments to the Constitution would make a similar bill constitutional. The National Intelligencer of yesterday has an editorial on the same points. It says: "If the Civil Rights bill is constitutional, then this amendment to the Constitution is unnecessary and superfluous. If, as these Radical Senators now declare it is necessary to make this amendment to the Federal Constitution in order to confer citizenship upon the freedmen in the southern States, then the Civil Rights bill must have been unconstitutional, and the Senators who voted for it, by voting for this constitutional amendment, have placed themselves upon the record as declaring that their votes upon the Civil Rights bill were given for an unconstitutional measure. Thus by their own solemn declaration they have vindicated the President and convicted themselves."
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Brooke Beam




“Unconstitutionality of the Civil Rights Bill,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 30, 2023, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/192.