Sharecropping

Topics: Reconstruction era of the United States, American Civil War, Sharecropping Pages: 2 (612 words) Published: April 16, 2015
Sharecropping: re-enslavement?

There was a problem…
Plantations in the south no longer had slaves to work the land. They had been freed! So they came up with the idea of sharecropping.

After the abolition of slavery and the devastation of the Civil War, many white landowners wanted to reestablish a labor force and former slaves expected the federal government to give them a land as compensation for all the work they had done during the slavery era.

(During the final months of the Civil War, tens of thousands of freed slaves left their plantations to follow General William T.. In January 1865, Sherman issued 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.)

During Reconstruction, however, the conflicts resulted in the sharecropping system. In this system, black families would farm a land that belonged to somebody else. The sharecropping family (both the parents and the kids) would do all the work of plowing, planting, and harvesting, but they would only keep a share of the crop, and the landowner would get the rest of it. The owner provided the tools and farm animals. This encouraged tenants to work to produce the biggest harvest that they could, and ensured they would remain tied to the land and not to leave for other opportunities. A lot of freed people who had been working as slaves began working in the cotton fields as sharecroppers. They were better off than when they were enslaved. Nobody could split their family up or beat them. It was better than working for wages, because then the white people would still have been telling them what to do. But sharecroppers were still poor, and it was hard for them to save money to buy their own land. White landowners liked that, because they didn't want black people to own their own land. The sharecropper families lived on the landowner’s property....
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