From the American Revolution to the Spanish-American War

When did the exclusion of blacks in the military become law?

Congress restricted military service to “free able-bodied white males” in 1772; thus the exclusion of blacks from the military became law in that year. Six years later, the Secretary of War reiterated this law and issued an order to the Commandant of the Marine Corps that “no Negro, mulatto or Indian is to be enlisted.”


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