HIS271Y1 Lecture Notes - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sharecropping, Ida B. Wells

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18 Apr 2012
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Semester 2 Lecture 1: Wednesday January 11th, 2012
The New South and the Far West
I. The New South
The historical term applied to the post-Civil War American South
New in that there is no longer slavery
The south’s focus remains agricultural with cotton production as its primary
unit
Blacks still provide the vast majority of the labour force
Sharecropping
o Amounted to a different type of servitude for slaves
Cotton production made up over half of the country’s exports
The Civil War had crippled the South’s economy
Industrializing Efforts
o Initially, the Republican governments are the opponents of
industrialization in the South
o Henry Grady The Atlanta Constitution
Was the largest circulated newspaper in the South
Grady repeatedly editorialized in it encouragements for
industrialization
The South now wants to introduce textile mills into its
economy/industry
By the 1900 the South is leading in American textile
production
Southern industrial achievements lagged behind Northern
industry because of their lack of experience with machines
and their preference for black labour
Land, Tenancy, and Sharecropping
o Freed men wanted their own land and to work their own land, but as
of the 1880s, only 20% of freed slaves owned their own land
White landowners had land with no one to work it
o Sharecropping
The person who owns the land provides a portion of that land
for others, who in exchange provide their labour and the two
split the production 50/50
On the surface, this worked well
By 1880, over 50% of blacks worked on the sharecropping
system and the landowners did everything they could to make
the freed slaves indebted to themselves or creditors
Landowners who are wealthy enough act as
shareholders/creditors to their labourers
o Crop Lien Economy
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