Competition and Coercion: Blacks in the American Economy 1865-1914

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 30, 2008 - Business & Economics - 220 pages
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Competition and Coercion: Blacks in the American economy, 1865-1914 is a reinterpretation of black economic history in the half-century after Emancipation. Its central theme is that economic competition and racial coercion jointly determined the material condition of the blacks. The book identifies a number of competitive processes that played important roles in protecting blacks from the racial coercion to which they were peculiarly vulnerable. It also documents the substantial economic gains realized by the black population between 1865 and 1914. Professor Higgs's account is iconoclastic. It seeks to reorganize the present conceptualization of the period and to redirect future study of black economic history in the post-Emancipation period. It raises new questions and suggests new answers to old questions, asserting that some of the old questions are misleadingly framed or not worth pursuing at all.
  

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Contents

Approaching the facts
3
Economic development with racial discrimination
9
Fertility mortality and natural increase
15
Regional distribution of the population
24
Urbanrural distribution of the population
32
The transition from slavery to a free labor market
38
The new agricultural credit system
55
Freedom and necessity
61
Budgets
102
Housing
108
Improvements in the level of living
117
What was not accomplished?
123
Vicious circles?
128
Black participation in the merchant class
142
Select bibliography
175
Index
205

The legacy of a landless emancipation
77
Black business and the group economy
90

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About the author (2008)

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy for the Independent Institute and author of Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government.

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