Southern Agriculture during the Civil War Era, 1860-1880

Southern Agriculture during the Civil War Era, 1860-1880

Southern Agriculture during the Civil War Era, 1860-1880

Southern Agriculture during the Civil War Era, 1860-1880

Synopsis

This is the first book to assess the contribution of Southern agriculture to the Confederate war effort, to describe the damage that agriculture sustained during the war, to analyze the transition from slavery to free labor after the war, and to recount the slow and painful process of rebuilding Southern agriculture by 1880. Synthesizing primary and secondary historical sources, Southern Agriculture During the Civil War Era, 1860-1880 fills a crucial gap in our knowledge about the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction period.

Excerpt

Those who wish to study Southern agriculture will find most of this field covered by three monumental books. After many years of research, Lewis Gray published the definitive study of colonial and antebellum Southern agriculture (Gray 1933), and Pete Daniel and Gilbert Fite produced impressive books on postbellum Southern agriculture (Daniel 1985; Fite 1984). Yet, there was a small but significant period in Southern agriculture from 1860 to 1880 that remains uncovered by these three books. Gray ended his study of early Southern agriculture at 1860, Daniel began his book at 1880, and Fite devoted only a brief chapter to Southern agriculture from 1865 to 1880. But in the crucial years between 1860 and 1880, Southern agriculture underwent the most revolutionary change in its long history. During this period, the Civil War and Reconstruction transformed Southern labor, marketing, transportation, and agricultural practices. Since a history of Southern agriculture from 1860 to 1880 has never been written, the information from this important period has remained buried in numerous secondary and primary sources. Recognizing the need for a study of Southern agriculture during the Civil War era, I researched many of these secondary and primary sources in an effort to write the first book-length history of Southern agriculture from 1860 to 1880.

During the years of researching and writing this book I received much help. I wish to thank the following people for their bibliographfcal aid and scholarly advice: Dr. Pete Daniel, Curator, Division of Agriculture, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Professor Leslie Rowland, University of Maryland, College Park; Professor Joseph Reidy, Howard University, Washington D.C.; Professor Ira Berlin, University of Maryland, College Park; and Professor Robert MacCameron, Empire State College, Buffalo, New York. I also thank the staffs of the following libraries for their assistance: Bowie State University Library, Bowie,, Maryland; University of Maryland Libraries, College Park; Univer sity of Florida Libraries . . .

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