What resources did the formerly enslaved bring to freedom? In other words, the local merchant, not some distant British cotton trader, was the immediate source of credit.
Our ongoing historical research project investigates the relationship between the press and convict labor. After the Civil War, were the Confederate states conquered lands, frontier territories, or states in good standing? Northern opinion on this question varied widely.
Sign up for the US morning briefing What goes unreported too often, however, is the role of corporations in sustaining, or worsening, the forces of racism in America.However impoverished and credit starved, the former Confederacy was integrated back into the national economy , laying the foundation for the future emergence of the most dynamic industrial economy in the world. They, or their descendants, were able to take part in the economic life of this society and build wealth over time. Advertisement All but the most unrepentant racist knows that slavery was evil and that the years of Jim Crow and segregation in the South were little better. What rights should all Americans enjoy? The late s and s were a period of breakneck railroad construction and consolidation. I also point out that poor whites and poor blacks may both have been poor, but they were poor in very different ways so that they were at best tentative allies. This said, African Americans never had decisive control over Reconstruction. In other words, the local merchant, not some distant British cotton trader, was the immediate source of credit. Each of these positions is worth discussion, but each tends to flatten out the motivations and behavior of the actors in the drama of Reconstruction. For the corporations, convict lease provided droves of cheap, disposable laborers who could be worked to the extremes of human cruelty. And southern landowners and freedmen, whether they wanted to or not, were incorporated into the national credit markets. The combination of the harsh Black Codes and the prevalence of Confederates in southern delegations to Congress in the fall of hastened the beginning of what became known as Congressional Reconstruction. The system benefited the national economy, too.
For the corporations, convict lease provided droves of cheap, disposable laborers who could be worked to the extremes of human cruelty. White landowners had land but no cash to pay laborers; former slaves had labor but no cash or credit to buy land.