The Work of Reconstruction: From Slave to Wage Laborer in South Carolina 1860-1870

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 26, 1996 - History - 221 pages
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With the abolition of slavery in the American South, the largest slave population in the hemisphere gained independence from institutional powers that had absorbed its social being into masters' and mistresses' households. Ex-slaves seized emancipation as the occasion to reclaim their persons and their labor, precipitating a social movement that linked immediate relations, family, kinship, community, labor-sharing, and mutual aid to arenas of political action. This book explores from the vantage of the South Carolina countryside the upheavals in daily life that underlay broad social transformations engendered by emancipation and the fashioning of wage relations. Going beyond current discussions about the meaning of freedom for former slaves, it offers a portrait of freedpeople's actual social life that sheds light on their new relations with yeomen Republican allies. Ex-slave's projects of "grass-roots reconstruction" were a dual struggle to blunt new coercions embedded in terms of postbellum employment, and to elude the personal domination of the old order. Freedmen and -women gradually mounted public and collective repudiations of the reasoning that had supported their owners' rights to command human property. At the same time, they challenged emergent claims that subjection to landowners' management and to the discipline of an abstract market constituted freedom.
  

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labour rules

Contents

Freedom Versus Freedom Competing Visions of Emancipation
3
Twilight of Slavery Dawn of Freedom
9
Rebels and Rebels in Disguise
23
A Measure of Freedom Plantation Workers and the Wartime Introduction of Wage Labor in Port Royal
30
Inducing Wage Labor behind Federal Lines
34
Wartime Planting
43
A Dollar a Task
58
As Hard Times as They Has See with the Rebel
68
Holding onto Land and Time in the Low Country
128
Seasonalization of Agricultural Employment
133
The Work of Reconstruction
141
Why Cant We Be Friends?
149
Theres a Meeting Here Tonight
158
A Perfect System?
168
On Duty in the League
175
We the Laboring Men out of Doors
186

Restoration and Reaction The Struggle for Land in the Sherman Reserve
70
The Reconstruction of Work
100
Control of the Crop
108
Control of Supplemental Plots
119
Working on Shares
123
Afterword
195
Bibliography
197
Index
213
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Julie Savill has over 18 years' experience writing on home style, furnishing and DIY. She has worked for a wide range of leading magazines including" Homes and Antiques" and is currently Editor of "Good Homes," a magazine that makes modern home trends accessible and achievable.

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