Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives, Gift of the United States Capitol Historical Society
Harper’s Weekly published this scene of the expectant crowd outside the House Chamber as the House voted to override President Andrew Johnson’s veto of the Civil Rights Bill of 1866. The artist pointedly added soldiers, one Black and one white, to the throng. Including them served as a visual reminder that Black soldiers actively worked to secure their rights, and that the military defense of the Union during the Civil War made the Civil Rights Bill possible. The new law mandated citizenship and the “full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property” for all people born in the United States, except Native Americans.