Lecture 22 - Sharecropping and Railroads.pdf

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University of California - Berkeley

HIST120AC LECTURE October 21, 2013 Announcements - Calpirg announcement - Dorothy's OH cancelled today - look out on your email -- more announcements on schedule Not-So-Free Soil: Westward Expansion & the Civil War I. Costs & Consequences A. Emancipation, Sharecropping & Monoculture 1. cotton production exploded after the war 2. opportunities in the South are limited -- especially for blacks 3. solution: sharecropping (both beneficial to an extent) a) black families (though not always black) can’t otherwise procure land b) black families cultivate a certain portion of the land and can live on it, but can’t choose what you grow c) can’t really grow food -- need to grow cash crops like cotton d) landowner and sharecropper split the profits e) but they are still susceptible to boom/bust cycles! (1) this means during the low times, sharecroppers can’t always afford food! (2) landowner gives you credit → forever indebted B. Not-So-Free Soil & Republican Policies in the West Creating Corridors & Communities: The Construction & Impact of the Railroad(s) I. Homesteaders & the West A. The Homestead Act (1862) 1. Improvements & Success Rates a) entitled to 160 acres b) may purchase outright after 6 months for $1.25/acre or live on it and improve it for 5 years c) must build a house and at least 10 acres are cultivated d) Dakotas and Nebraska: 56.5% public domain e) Kansas: 41%, 49% failed in the 5 year deal f) ** farming is very hard work - harder than people expected g) 1862-1890: 2M people attempt to create 370,000+ farms through Homestead Act h) 1862-1934: 1.6M applications, 270M acres 2. some people follow the letter of the law, not the spirit, so they just build a house on it then leave it for 5 years in order to sell it later II. Technical Assistance A. The Morrill Land Grant Act (1862) 1. assist farmers, loggers, miners, etc study sciences/skills 2. Justin Morrill (Vermont) proposed
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