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Sharecropping - Black History

Sharecropping - Black History
During the final months of the Civil War, tens of thousands of freed slaves left their plantations to follow General William T. Sherman’s victorious Union Army troops across Georgia and the Carolinas. In January 1865, in an effort to address the issues caused by this growing number of refugees, Sherman issued Special Field Order Number 15, a temporary plan granting each freed family 40 acres of land on the islands and coastal region of Georgia. The Union Army also donated some of its mules, unneeded for battle purposes, to the former slaves. When the war ended three months later, many freed African Americans saw the “40 acres and a mule” policy as proof that they would finally be able to work their own land after years of servitude. Owning land was the key to economic independence and autonomy.

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Sharecropping and tenant farming Sharecropping was common throughout the South well into the twentieth century, and required the work of entire families. In this famous photograph, a six year-old girl picks cotton in Oklahoma. (Photograph by Lewis W. Hine. More about the photograph) Reconstruction: The Second Civil War The Civil Rights Act of 1866 granted citizenship and the same rights enjoyed by white citizens to all male persons in the United States "without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude." President Andrew Johnson's veto of the bill was overturned by a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress, and the bill became law. Johnson's attitude contributed the growth of the Radical Republican movement, which favored increased intervention in the South and more aid to former slaves, and ultimately to Johnson's impeachment.

Liberal Republicans—They're Alive! Until not long ago, we tended to think of Republicans as unified and focused, and Democrats as inherently fractious (see, for instance, the evergreen "Dems In Disarray" headline). These days the opposite is true—or at least it's the case that Republicans have become just as divided as Democrats. But how much of that is about Washington infighting and intraparty struggles for power, and how much is actually substantive and matters to voters? This post from The Upshot at the New York Times has some provocative hints.

Carpetbaggers & Scalawags - American Civil War In general, the term “carpetbagger” refers to a traveler who arrives in a new region with only a satchel (or carpetbag) of possessions, and who attempts to profit from or gain control over his new surroundings, often against the will or consent of the original inhabitants. After 1865, a number of northerners moved to the South to purchase land, lease plantations or partner with down-and-out planters in the hopes of making money from cotton. At first they were welcomed, as southerners saw the need for northern capital and investment to get the devastated region back on its feet.

The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution - Fourteenth Amendment - anchor babies and birthright citizenship - interpretations and misinterpretations - US Constitution The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads in part: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside." Babies born to illegal alien mothers within U.S. borders are called anchor babies because under the 1965 immigration Act, they act as an anchor that pulls the illegal alien mother and eventually a host of other relatives into permanent U.S. residency. (Jackpot babies is another term).

Our Documents - 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Voting Rights (1870) Passed by Congress February 26, 1869, and ratified February 3, 1870, the 15th amendment granted African American men the right to vote. To former abolitionists and to the Radical Republicans in Congress who fashioned Reconstruction after the Civil War, the 15th amendment, enacted in 1870, appeared to signify the fulfillment of all promises to African Americans. Set free by the 13th amendment, with citizenship guaranteed by the 14th amendment, black males were given the vote by the 15th amendment. Reconstruction - American Civil War At the outset of the Civil War, to the dismay of the more radical abolitionists in the North, President Abraham Lincoln did not make abolition of slavery a goal of the Union war effort. To do so, he feared, would drive the border slave states still loyal to the Union into the Confederacy and anger more conservative northerners. By the summer of 1862, however, the slaves themselves had pushed the issue, heading by the thousands to the Union lines as Lincoln’s troops marched through the South. Their actions debunked one of the strongest myths underlying Southern devotion to the “peculiar institution”–that many slaves were truly content in bondage–and convinced Lincoln that emancipation had become a political and military necessity. In response to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed more than 3 million slaves in the Confederate states by January 1, 1863, blacks enlisted in the Union Army in large numbers, reaching some 180,000 by war’s end.

14th Amendment Amendment XIV Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed.

TENANT FARMING AND SHARECROPPING When the Civil War ended, the big question concerned the state of the freed slaves of the South. Recovery of the southern economy depended on getting the freedmen back into the cotton fields. During the period of Reconstruction the Radical Republicans in Congress tried to convert the freedmen into small free-holding farmers, but the former slaves were simply not ready to manage their own farms. What emerged out of necessity was southern farm tenancy, a system of near slavery without legal sanctions. Instead of working in gangs as they had on antebellum plantations, the freedmen became tenants.

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