The Supplemental Reconstruction Bill

March 14, 1867


The purpose of the Bill is to set up a more efficient governing system in the Southern States. This includes establishing systems of appropriations, how the voting system will be enacted, and the powers of the leading officers of each district.


The following is a copy of the bill which passed the House on Monday, supplementary of the act "to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States." It will be seen that the oath and various other features have been somewhat changed since the first appearance of the bill: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the commanding general in each district defined by the act entitled "an act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, shall cause a registration to be made before the first day of September, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, in each county or parish in the several States included in his district, of the male citizens of the United States twenty-one years of age and upwards, resident in each county or parish, which registration shall include only those persons who are qualified to vote for delegates by the said "act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," and who shall have taken and subscribed the following oath or affirmation: "I, -------, of ------, in the county or parish of ------, in the State of ------, hereby solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am not excluded from the right to vote by the provisions of the fifth and sixth sections of the act passed March two, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, entitled 'an act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States,' that I am sincerely and earnestly attached to the Union and Government of the United States, that I will steadfastly support the Constitution and obey the laws of the United States, and that i will, to the best of my ability, engage all others to such support and obedience. So help me, God." Section 2. And be it further enacted, That whenever the registration hereby provided shall be completed, and copies thereof returned to the commanding general, he shall cause to be held in each State of his district, on a day not less than thirty days from the date of his proclamation thereof, an election of delegates to a convention for the purpose of framing a Constitution for said State, and of firmly reestablishing a civil government loyal to the Union therein, and of passing all needful ordinances for putting said Constitution and government into operation. Section 3. And be it further enacted, That the convention in each State shall consist of the number of members of the most numerous branch of the Legislature of such State, under the Constitution thereof existing January one, eighteen hundred and sixty; and tie election districts existing on the said first day of January shall be observed in the elections and in the assignment of delegates. The commanding general to each military district shall assign, as near as may be, to the several election districts in each State within his jurisdiction the number of delegates to which it may be entitled, according to the number of registered voters within its limits: Provided, That each district shall be entitled to at least one delegate. Section 4. And be it further enacted, That the commanding general of each district shall appoint such loyal officers or persons as may be necessary, not exceeding three in each election district, to make and complete a registration, to preside at the election, to receive, sort, and count, and to make return to him of the votes, lists of voters, and of the persons elected as delegates by a plurality of the votes cast at said election ; and upon receiving said returns he shall open the same, ascertain the persons elected as delegates according to the returns of the officers who conducted said election, and make proclamation thereof, and within sixty days from the date of election he shall notify the delegates to assemble at a time and place to be mentioned in the notification, to proceed to the organization of a convention; and when the said convention shall have framed a Constitution in accordance with said "act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," said Constitution shall be submitted by the convention to the persons registered under the provisions of this act at an election to be conducted by the officers or persons appointed by the commanding general as hereinbefore provided, and to be held after expiration of thirty days from the date of notice thereof, to be given by said convention and the returns thereof shall be made to the commanding general of the district. Section 5. And be it further enacted, That if, according to said returns, the Constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the votes of the electors qualified as herein specified, the president of the convention shall transmit a copy of the same, duly certified, to the President of the United States, who shall forthwith transmit the same to Congress, if then in session, and if not in session, then immediately upon its next assembling; and if the said Constitution shall be declared by Congress to be in conformity with the fifth section of the act entitled "an act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," and the other provisions of said act shall have been complied with, the State shall be declared entitled to representation, and senators and representatives shall be admitted therefrom as therein provided. Section 6. And be it further enacted, That all elections in the States mentioned in the said "act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States" during the operation of said act, be by ballot ; and all officers making the said registration of voters and conducting said elections shall, before entering upon the discharge of their duties, take and subscribe the oath prescribed by the act approved July 2,1862, entitled "an act to prescribe an oath of office." Section 7. And be it further enacted, That all expenses incurred by the several commanding generals, or by virtue of any orders issued, or appointments made by them, under or by virtue of this act, shall be paid out of any moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated. Section 8. And be it further enacted, That the convention for each State shall prescribe the fees, salary, and compensation to be paid to all delegates and other officers and agents herein authorized or necessary to carry into effect the purposes of this act not herein otherwise provided for, and shall provide for the levy and collection of such taxes on the property in such state as may be necessary to pay the same.
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Walker Black




“The Supplemental Reconstruction Bill,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 28, 2023,