Landmark Congressional Laws on Education

By David Carleton | Go to book overview

4
The Freedmen's Bureau

March 3, 1865

The Freedmen's Bureau—officially, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands—was created to manage the wideranging problems associated with Civil War refugees and freed slaves. During and after the war, millions of freed men and women suffered severe housing, food, medical, and educational needs. Prior to the creation of the bureau, to the extent that these issues were dealt with, responsibility necessarily fell on the Union Army. The bureau was intended to relieve occupying armies of these duties and deal with the problems in a more concerted and comprehensive fashion. The Freedmen's Bureau existed for only seven years, from 1865 to 1872, and the bulk of its work was completed by 1870. While it undertook actions across a whole spectrum of social problems, much of the bureau's most lasting work was in education. The bureau was responsible for the creation of thousands of primary and secondary schools for blacks and a series of teacher-training schools to train black teachers all across the South.

The creation, continuation, and work of the Freedmen's Bureau were all politically contentious. The creation of the bureau was very strongly opposed by Southern political leaders, who viewed it as a means of Northern control and domination of the South. Subsequent legislation continuing the existence and expanding the mandate of the bureau was the subject of intense presidentialcongressional conflict, with repeated vetoes and votes to override these vetoes. The work of the bureau fueled Southern political opposition and was the subject of repeated charges and investigations

-41-

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Landmark Congressional Laws on Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Timeline of Milestones in U.S.Education xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The Land Ordinance of 1785 13
  • 2: The Northwest Ordinance 19
  • 3: The First Morrill Act 27
  • 4: The Freedmen's Bureau 41
  • 5: The Second Morrill Act 53
  • 6: The Smith-Hughes Act 63
  • 7: The Servicemen's Readjustment Act 77
  • 8: The National School Lunch Act 87
  • 9: The Impact Laws 97
  • 10: The National Defense Education Act 109
  • 11: The Economic Opportunity Act 123
  • 12: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act 135
  • 13: The Higher Education Act 147
  • 14: The Bilingual Education Act 161
  • 15: Title IX 171
  • 16: Education for All Handicapped Children Act 181
  • 17: Department of Education Organization Act 193
  • 18: Goals 2000: Educate America Act 205
  • Bibliography 217
  • Index 223
  • About the Author 229
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