The Reconstruction Acts, or the Military Reconstruction Acts, (March 2, 1867, 14 Stat. 428-430, c.153; March 23, 1867, 15 Stat. 2-5, c.6; July 19, 1867, 15 Stat. 14-16, c.30; and March 11, 1868, 15 Stat. 41, c.25) were four statutes passed during the Reconstruction Era by the 40th United States Congress addressing the requirement for Southern States to be readmitted to the Union. The actual title of the initial legislation was "An act to provide for the more efficient government of the Rebel States" and was passed on March 4, 1867. Fulfillment of the requirements of the Acts was necessary for the former Confederate States to be readmitted to the Union from military and Federal control imposed during and after the American Civil War. The Acts excluded Tennessee, which had already ratified the 14th Amendment and had been readmitted to the Union on July 24, 1866.
A key addition of the Acts included the creation of five military districts in the South, each commanded by a general, which would serve as the acting government for the region. In addition, Congress required each state to draft a new state constitution, which would have to be approved by Congress. The states were also required to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and grant voting rights to black men. President Andrew Johnson's vetoes of these measures were overridden by Congress.
General George Meade (of the Third Military District) appointed Brig. General Thomas H. Ruger to replace Governor of Georgia Charles J. Jenkins, who had been elected as the only candidate in 1865 to succeed James Johnson, who had been appointed by President Andrew Johnson.
After Ex parte McCardle (1869) came before the United States Supreme Court, Congress feared that the Court might strike the Reconstruction Acts down as unconstitutional. To prevent this, Congress repealed the Habeas Corpus Act 1867, eliminating the Supreme Court's jurisdiction over the case.
- Reconstruction Amendments
- First Military District (Virginia)
- Second Military District (North Carolina, South Carolina)
- Third Military District (Georgia, Alabama and Florida)
- Fourth Military District (Arkansas and Mississippi)
- Fifth Military District (Texas and Louisiana)
- "A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774–1875 | Statutes at Large, 39th Congress, 2nd Session". Library of Congress. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
- "Tennessee re-admitted to the Union". Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Archived from the original on October 22, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
- Knight, Lucian Lamar (1917). A Standard History of Georgia and Georgians. Vol. 2. Lewish publishing Company. p. 830. ISBN 9785876667304. OCLC 1855247.
- Kevin J. Coleman (2015): The Voting Rights Act of 1965: Background and Overview (PDF). This Congressional Research Service document describes at its pages 4–5 the four Reconstruction Acts passed in 1867 and 1868 in the context of the United States reconstruction after the end of the Civil as envisioned by the United States Congress. Archived from the original on June 22, 2021.