Select Statutes and Other Documents: Illustrative of the History of the United States, 1861-1898

By William MacDonald | Go to book overview

No. 51. Supplementary Freedmen's Bureau Act
July 16, 1866

A BILL to continue in force and amend the act of March 3, 1865, establishing a freedmen's bureau, and enlarging the scope of that act, was vetoed by President Johnson February 19, 1866. An attempt to pass the bill over the veto failed in the Senate. A bill of similar purport, but aiming to avoid the objections urged against the earlier act, was reported in the House, May 22, by Eliot of Massachusetts, from the Committee on Freedmen, and passed that body on the 29th by a vote of 96 to 32, 55 not voting. The Senate passed the bill with amendments June 26, without a division. The House disagreed to the Senate amendments, and the bill received its final form from a conference committee. July 16 President Johnson vetoed the bill. The bill was passed over the veto the same day, in the Senate by a vote of 33 to 12, in the House by a vote of 103 to 33, 46 not voting. An act of July 6, 1868, continued the bureau until July 16, 1869, but an act of July 25, 1868, provided for its discontinuance after January 1, 1869.

REFERENCES. -- Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XIV, 173-177. For the proceedings on both bills see the House and Senate Journals, 39th Cong., 1st Sess., and the Cong. Globe. The bill introduced by Eliot, May 22, is compared with the vetoed bill in the Globe for May 23. On the work of the bureau see House, Exec. Docs. 120-123, 39th Cong., 1st Sess., and ibid.7, 39th Cong., 2d Sess.; Senate Exec. Doe. 27, 39th Cong., 1st Sess.

An Act to continue in force and to amend "An Act to establish a
Bureau for the Relief of Freedmen and Refugees," and for
other Purposes.

Be it enacted . . ., That the act to establish a bureau for the relief of freedmen and refugees, approved March third, eighteen hundred and sixty-five, shall continue in force for the term of two years from and after the passage of this act.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the supervision and care of said bureau shall extend to all loyal refugees and freedmen, so far as the same shall be necessary to enable them as speedily as practicable to become self-supporting citizens of the United States, and to aid them in making the freedom conferred by proclamation of the commander-in-chief, by emancipation under the laws of States, and by constitutional amendment, available to them and beneficial to the republic.

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