Civil Rights Act of 1875
|Nickname(s)||Enforcement Act, Force Act, and Sumner Civil Rights Bill|
|Enacted by the||
43rd United States Congress
|Stat.||18 Stat. 335-337|
|United States Supreme Court cases|
|The Civil Rights Cases (1883)|
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 (18 Stat. 335-337), sometimes called Enforcement Act or Force Act, was a United States federal law enacted during the Reconstruction Era that guaranteed African Americans equal treatment in public accommodations, public transportation, and prohibited exclusion from jury service. The Supreme Court decided the act was unconstitutional in 1883.
History of Act 
Legislative History 
The drafting of the bill was performed early in 1870 by Senator Charles Sumner, a dominant Radical Republican in the Senate, with the assistance of John Mercer Langston, a prominent African American who established the law department at Howard University. The bill was proposed by Senator Sumner and co-sponsored by Representative Benjamin F. Butler, both Republicans from Massachusetts, in the 43rd Congress of the United States in 1870. The act was finally passed by Congress in February 1875 and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1875.
Constitutional Challenge 
The Supreme Court of the United States in a nearly unanimous decision declared the act unconstitutional in the Civil Rights Cases (1883) with Justice John Marshall Harlan providing the lone dissent. The Court held the Equal Protection Clause within the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination by the state, but it does not give the federal government the power to prohibit discrimination by private individuals. The Court also held that the Thirteenth Amendment was meant to eliminate "the badge of slavery," but not to prohibit racial discrimination in public accommodations. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was the last civil rights bill to be signed into law in the United States until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
Legacy of Law 
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 is also notable for being part of the major pieces of legislation passed by Congress after the American Civil War. Those pieces of legislation include the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the four Reconstruction Acts of 1867 and 1868, the three Enforcement Acts of 1870 and 1871, and the three Constitutional Amendments adopted between 1865 and 1870.
Provisions contained in the Civil Rights Act of 1875 were later reenacted during the Civil Rights Movement in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 relying upon the Commerce Clause contained in Article One of the Constitution of the United States.
See also 
- Civil Rights Bill of 1875, Legislative Interests, The Fifteenth Amendment in Flesh and Blood, Black Americans in Congress series, retrieved November 12, 2012
- U.S. Statutes at Large, 43rd Congress, Session II, chapter 114, pages 335-337, retrieved November 13, 2012
- John Mercer Langston, Representative, 1890–1891, Republican from Virginia, Black Americans in Congress series, retrieved November 12, 2012
- Civil Rights Act of 1875, retrieved May 5, 2009
- Gerber, Richard; Friedlander, Alan (2008), The Civil Rights Act of 1875 A Reexamination, retrieved 2009-05-05
- Summary of Constitutional Amendments and Major Civil Rights Acts passed by Congress, retrieved November 20, 2012
Further reading 
- Atwell, Mary Welek (2012). In Wilbur R. Miller. "Civil Rights Act of 1875," The Social History of Crime and Punishment in America: An Encyclopedia. SAGE. pp. 262–263. ISBN 9781412988766.
- Bitzer, J. Michael (2006). In Paul Finkelman. "Civil Rights Act of 1875," The Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties. CRC Press. p. 300. ISBN 9780415943420.
- Howard, John R. (1999). The Shifting Wind: The Supreme Court and Civil Rights from Reconstruction to Brown. New York: State University of New York Press. pp. 66–68. ISBN 9780791440902.
- Luckett, Barbara N. (1972). The Civil Rights Act of 1875: A Failure Reconsidered. University of Nebraska at Omaha.
- Rivera, Alicia (2006). In Paul Finkelman. "Civil Rights Act of 1875," Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895: From The Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass, vol. 1, A-E. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 285–287. ISBN 978-0-19-516777-1.
- Sandoval-Strausz, A. K. (2007). "Accommodating Jim Crow: The Law of Hospitality and the Struggle for Civil Rights". Hotel: An American History. Yale University Press. pp. 284–311. ISBN 9780300106169.
- Tsesis, Alexander (2010). ""Badges and Incidents of Slavery" In the Supreme Court". The Promises of Liberty: The History and Contemporary Relevance of the Thirteenth Amendment. Columbia University Press. pp. 172–181. ISBN 9780231141444.
- Wilson, Kirt H. (2002). The Reconstruction Desegregation Debate: The Politics of Equality and the Rhetoric of Place, 1870-1875. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. ISBN 9780870136177.
- Wynn, Linda T. (2009). In Jessie Carney Smith, Linda T. Wynn. "Civil Rights Act of 1875," Freedom Facts and Firsts: 400 Years of the African American Civil Rights Experience. Visible Ink Press. pp. 165–167. ISBN 9781578591923.
- Avins, Alfred (May 1966). "The Civil Rights Act of 1875: Some Reflected Light on the Fourteenth Amendment and Public Accommodations". Columbia Law Review 66: 873–915.
- Franklin, John Hope (Winter 1974). "The Enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1875". Prologue: The Journal of the National Archives 6 (4): 225–235.
- Gudridge, Patrick O. (April 1989). "Privileges and Permissions: The Civil Rights Act of 1875". Law and Philosophy 8 (1): 83–130.
- Jager, Ronald B. (September 1969). "Charles Sumner, the Constitution, and the Civil Rights Act of 1875". The New England Quarterly 42 (3): 350–372.
- McPherson, James M. (December 1965). "Abolitionists and the Civil Rights Act of 1875". Journal of American History 52 (3).
- Murphy, L.E. (April 1927). "The Civil Rights Law of 1875". Journal of Negro History 12 (2).
- Spackman, S. G. F. (December 1976). "American Federalism and the Civil Rights Act of 1875". Journal of American Studies 10 (3): 313–328.
- Weaver, Valeria W. (October 1969). "The Failure of Civil Rights 1875-1883 and its Repercussions". The Journal of Negro History 54 (4): 368–382.
- Wyatt-Brown, Bertram (December 1965). "The Civil Rights Act of 1875". Western Political Quarterly 18 (4): 763–765.
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Congressional Records 
- Congressional Record: Congressional Globe (1833-1873) Provides an index to the "History of Senate Bills and Joint Resolutions" for Senate bill S. 1 during 1873. Retrieved November 18, 2012
- Congressional Record: House Proceedings, 1874 Provides an index to the "History of Senate Bills and Joint Resolutions" for House bill H.R. 796 during 1874. Retrieved November 18, 2012
- Benjamin F. Butler, "Civil Rights: Speech of Hon. Benjamin F. Butler, of Massachusetts, in the House of Representatives, January 7, 1874," Provided by An American Antiquarian Society Online Resource and curated by Lucia Z. Knoles, Professor of English, Assumption College. Retrieved November 18, 2012
- Civil Rights Bill of 1875, The Fifteenth Amendment in Flesh and Blood Provides a detailed description of the history of the bill from 1870 until its passage by Congress in 1875. Retrieved November 18, 2012
- History Crush: Charles Sumner, Prologue: Pieces of History, The National Archives.gov Provides a short biographical account of Sen. Charles Sumner including details surrounding his efforts to pass the Civil Rights bill in Congress. Includes images of Sumner, personal documents, and bill S. 1 that would later lead to the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Retrieved November 18, 2012
- Summary of Constitutional Amendments and Major Civil Rights Acts passed by Congress Part of the Black Americans in Congress, 1870–2007 series. Provided by the Office of History and Preservation under the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved November 18, 2012
- "The Trouble has Commenced - A Tale of Anxiety" by Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly. From the New York Times "On This Day" series. Recounts the events on the floor of the House in the United States Congress involving the Civil Rights Bill on February 27, 1875. Retrieved March 16, 2013