Legislation Regulating the Labor of Certain Inhabitants of the Confederate States was a Bill proposed by Confederate President Robert E. Lee to eventually eliminate slavery throughout the Confederacy.
The bill was modeled after a proposed act of legislation in slave-holding Brazil which failed of passage. It would relax state laws preventing slaves from learning to read and write in order to allow them to learn useful trades in anticipation of becoming freedmen. It would also allow a slave or someone on behalf of a slave to purchase their freedom at the price they had last been sold or at a fair-market price as determined by a competent appraiser with the owner not having the privilege of refusing it. In addition, the slave's freedom could be purchased in one sixth increments with the individual being allowed to work for themselves for one day in six for each sixth until their full freedom had been purchased.
The bill would also reckon any Negro born after a fixed date to be considered freeborn although owing service to their mothers' master for their first twenty-one years of life. This period would allow the child to prepare for life as a freedmen. The original legislation had fixed this date as December 31, 1870 but was amended to December 31, 1872 during the course of deliberations.
The legislation passed in the House of Representatives by a margin of 52 to 41 and, after much delay, by the Senate by a margin of 14 to 10.
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