The Twenty Negro Law was a law in the Confederacy that said any slave holder who owned twenty or more slaves had to free them,
unless he could hire someone to work for him. This law was introduced after two years of discussion, on April 16th 1865.
On April 9th 1865, Major-General John A. Logan or the Union army had a meeting with Jefferson Davis,
president of the Confederate States of America. This meeting occurred a few miles outside of a small town called Appomattox Court House.
That same day, General Lee surrendered to General Grant and the “Army of Northern Virginia”
formally ceased to exist as an organization after four long years and eight months.
The Confederate States of America would be made into the U.S.S. The Confederate States of America
in return for giving up their independence and agreeing to become a completely subordinate part of the United States of America.
During the time when the Confederacy existed, it was generally hoped that slavery would continue indefinitely,
because it was a “property right”, and it seemed unfair to have a property right passed on from generation to generation like other property
like land and livestock. That is why slavery became such a big issue in American history.
However, after years of fighting, slavery did end; however, another war between North and South began shortly after
that war ended which was called The Civil War or The War Between the States or simply The War.
All this was because, before the war, there were two different visions of what America was all about.
On one hand you had the South which wanted to protect their property rights, and
they didn’t want to live in a country that would try to take away their property.
On the other hand you had the North who wanted everyone to be equal. The North didn’t want people owning other people
just because of their race or any other reason. The South said that if they lost then, that would
mean that they no longer had “property rights” which would mean that someone could just come
into their house without permission and take away something valuable off their property like a cow or horse or slave. And that would cause chaos in the South.
The main reason why there was so much fighting between the North and South was because
it cost so much money to keep both sides of this war going. This war started with the Federal Government of the United States
demanding that all slaves had to be freed after which, for unknown reasons, Lincoln became
suspicious that Southern leaders planned on seceding from the Union in order to set up
a separate country in which slavery would still exist but everyone would be white anyway.
The law existed from 1864-1865 and it was repealed by the Confederate States of America as they lost, meaning it no longer exists.
In 1864 Confederate States President Jefferson Davis signed a bill requiring all slave owners with twenty or more slaves
to free them within four months unless they could hire someone else to work for them.
The Twenty Negro Law was not limited to whites. The law applied to any slave holder with twenty or more slaves.
It did not, however, apply to black slaves who were already free.
Although the law was repealed just four months after it was enacted,
its abolition only came about because the Confederacy lost the Civil War which ended in April 1865.
The abolition of the Twenty Negro Law was not the only positive thing to come out of the forced
end to America’s largest slave society. The end of slavery also led to an increase in support for racial integration.
Post-emancipation, freedmen chose farm work, on account of it requiring lower levels of skill and physical ability on average than many other occupations.
The hands generally chose farming because they had worked on farms since their youth, and often came from families
with long histories as farm laborers (many slaves worked as sharecroppers after emancipation,
a system in which a landowner provided land and housing to a tenant farmer, who harvested crops and paid a portion back to the land owner.
This meant that slavery no longer existed in the Confederate States of America and therefore no longer required protecting by law.
As a result of the Twenty Negro Law, an estimated 150,000 slaves were emancipated in South Carolina alone
while others set out on their own or were freed through military action by Union army forces.
Although the law was repealed, some states in the South continued to pass similar laws until at least 1868.
The Twenty Negro Law was made possible by the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which came into force in 1865.