Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Land was voted on and passed through Congress on March 3rd 1865,
The Bill which created the Freedman’s Bureau, was started by President Abraham Lincoln. It was to set up as a government organization to aid former slaves and displaced poor southern whites with education and employment. The Bureau was to run for one year following the end of the Civil War. Congress passed the Bill into Law on March 3rd 1865.
The Bureau was part of the United States Department of War. Its first head was Union General Oliver Otis Howard. The Bureau operated from 1865 to 1872, when President Andrew Johnson disbanded the group. The original job of the Bureau was to provide food, housing, medical aid, and reunite families. It would also set up schools for the former slaves, more than 1,000 were built and staffed including many of the African American Colleges still educating in the United States today.
There was hostility against the Freedmen’s Bureau from many southern whites. The plan to redistribute land to freed blacks taken from Southerners who fought for the Confederacy was thwarted by Andrew Johnson pardoning these men and returning their land to them. The agency was filled with corruption and came to an end in 1872.