Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 - Ambiguities of Free Labor Summary & Analysis

Eric Foner
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Ambiguities of Free Labor Summary and Analysis

The Civil War devastated much of the South financially. Farmland had been left unplanted and southern plantation owners were ruined financially. Many of the largest cities were in ruins. Confederate bonds and currency became worthless.

Plantation owners were also faced with the loss of slave labor that had made it possible to profit from large scale agriculture. Former slaves now demanded to be hired at wages and women and children no longer worked in the fields, creating a labor shortage. White southerners occupied themselves with the question of whether blacks would work at all without the threat of punishment as they did under slavery. They found that blacks would work, but wanted to work at their own pace and to have some control over their own labor. Plantation owners pushed back with contracts that created...

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This section contains 583 words
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Buy the Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 Study Guide
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