The Black Codes dealt with more than just settlement. Oregon forbid blacks to hold real estate, make contracts, or bring lawsuits. Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and California prohibited them from testifying in cases where a white man was a party.
Indiana's anti-immigration rule was challenged in the case of a black man convicted for bringing a black woman into the state to marry her. The state Supreme Court upheld the conviction, noting that, "The policy of the state is ... clearly evolved. It is to exclude any further ingress of negroes, and to remove those already among us as speedily as possible." There was no legal segregation in Indiana's public schools: none was necessary. The white citizens of the state would keep the schools racially pure more thoroughly than any legal provision could. A court upheld the white-only Indiana public schools in 1850, finding that, in the eyes of the state, "black children were deemed unfit associates of whites, as school companions."
Wisconsin was one of the first states to establish black suffrage, but this was accomplished only through a Supreme Court decision after suffrage had been defeated repeatedly at the polls. Like many in the North, Wisconsin residents disliked slavery, but they also felt no desire to integrate with blacks, whom they felt were inferior. A committee of the 1846 statehood convention proposed an article granting suffrage to "white citizens of the United States," foreign residents who intended to become citizens and certain Indians. A few idealists urged that the word "white" be deleted, but they were opposed by the majority. The convention ultimately agreed to submit to the voters a separate article allowing black suffrage. The 1846 constitution was voted down for reasons unrelated to suffrage; but the suffrage article also was defeated decisively, with only 34 percent in favor.
The 1847-48 constitutional convention resolved the suffrage issue by agreeing that the Legislature could allow black suffrage at any time, provided that the law was "submitted to the vote of the people at a general election, and approved by a majority of all the votes cast at such election." The compromise appealed to the delegates because a vote for it could be defended as a vote for popular sovereignty rather than for black equality or abolitionism. The first state Legislature promptly passed a black suffrage law and authorized a referendum, which took place in 1849. The law was approved by a vote of 5,265 to 4,075. However, fewer than half of all voters casting ballots at the election voted on the suffrage issue; therefore, the law had failed. The Legislature passed new suffrage laws in 1857 and again in 1865. The voters rejected both laws, although the pro-suffrage vote increased from 41 percent in 1857 to 46 percent in 1865.
When the Civil War ended, 19 of 24 Northern states did not allow blacks to vote. Nowhere did they serve on juries before 1860. They could not give testimony in 10 states, and were prevented from assembling in two. Several western states had prohibited free blacks from entering the state. Blacks who entered Illinois and stayed more than 10 days were guilty of "high misdemeanor." Even those that didn't exclude blacks debated doing so and had discriminatory ordinances on the local level.