The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, usually referred to as simply the Freedmen’s Bureau, was a United States federal government agency that aided distressed freedmen (freed slaves) from 1865-1872 during the Reconstruction era of the United States. The Freedmen’s Bureau Bill was initiated by President Abraham Lincoln and was intended to last for one year after the end of the Civil War. The Bureau encouraged former plantation owners to rebuild their plantations, urged African Americans to gain employment, kept an eye on contracts between labor and management, and pushed both whites and blacks to work together as employers and employees rather than as masters and as slaves.
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