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State Legislation Concerning the
Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the
This monograph deals with the laws, enacted by each of the states of the United States and by the Federal government prior to 1917, which in terms have related specifically to the negro. All laws of this character are included except those relating to slaves and to negroes freed prior to the Civil War, and so-called "private" and "local" laws, and appropriation acts. No attention is paid to laws which in terms do not relate to the negro even though some of the statutes of this character, such as the acts restricting the suffrage and containing a "grandfather" clause, were undoubtedly passed with the purpose of affecting the status of the negro very materially. No attempt has been made to review court decisions. Where, however, laws have been declared void or unconstitutional, such court action has been noted. Various other limitations of the field, for the most part of minor importance, are discussed in the opening chapter. Within this field the aim has been to present a complete record of all enactments, including every amendment no matter how unimportant, and every repeal no matter how small.
The original aim of the author was to review all legislation that had ever in any way affected the negro in this country, in the hope that the material, thus rendered available, might aid in an intelligent understanding of the status of that race. The overwhelming magnitude of the task soon became evident, however, and the scope of the work was limited in the ways already indicated.
It is evident that complete generalizations concerning the general trend of legislation affecting the negro cannot be based on the laws dealt with in this volume alone. Only the carrying out of the original plan would have made possible a valid general summary of the trend of legislation concerning the negro in this country. It is the author's hope, however, that a complete review of the field indicated will prove more valuable than the possible results of an attempt to deal in an incomplete manner with the whole field.
The thorough treatment undertaken has involved much labor and difficult investigation. It would have been impossible except for the libraries of the New York Bar Association and the New York Law Institute, where the larger part of the investigation was done.