After the emancipation of slaves in 1862, the status of African-Americans in post civil war America up until the beginning of the twentieth century did not go through a great deal of change. Much legislation was passed to help blacks in this period. The Civil Rights act of 1875 prohibited segregation in public facilities and various government amendments gave African-Americans even more guaranteed rights. Even with this government legislation, the newly dubbed "freedmen" were still discriminated against by most people and, ironically, they were soon to be restricted and segregated once again under government rulings in important court cases of the era. .
Reconstruction was intended to give African-Americans the chance for a new and better life. Many of them stayed with their old masters after being freed, while others left in search of opportunity through education as well as land ownership. However this was not exactly an easy task. There were many things standing in their way, chiefly white supremacists and the laws and restrictions they placed upon African-Americans. Beginning with the "black codes" established by President Johnson's reconstruction plan, blacks were required to have a curfew as well as carry identification. Labor contracts established under Johnson's Reconstruction even bound the "freedmen" to their respective plantations. A few years later, another set of laws known as the "Jim Crow" laws directly undermined the status of blacks by placing unfair restrictions on everything from voting rights all the way to the segregation of water fountains. Besides these restrictions, the blacks had to deal with the Democratic Party whose northern wing even denounced racial equality. As a result of democratic hostility and the Republican Party's support of Black suffrage, freedmen greatly supported the Republican Party. .
As a result of the failure of Johnson's Reconstruction, Congress proposed its own plan.