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Title: Free land and free labour : debates over confiscation and land redustribution during the American Civil War
Author: Clayton, Nichola Wendy Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0004 2677 2965
Awarding Body: The University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2009
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During the 1860s, federal intervention to alter patterns of southern landholding was a distinct possibility, but ultimately land redistribution lay outside the boundaries of the post-Civil War settlement. This thesis examines the evolution of wartime attitudes both towards confiscation, and to the related policy question' of how to transform four million ex-slaves into effective free workers. During the second half of the war these two issues became increasingly intertwined, as Republicans were prompted, by re-evaluations of British West Indian emancipation and the trajectory of free labour experiments in the Union-occupied South, to regard the freedmen as potentially effective free labourers and independent farmers. Despite a surge in support for confiscation in early 1864, political and legal obstacles continued to prevent the adoption of a radical and permanent policy towards southern lands. The prospect of former slaves as landowners also met with conflicting responses. Some argued that economic independence was the most effective stimulus to the freedmen's, acceptance of free labour mores, while others believed that access to land brought with it too much freedom: fr~ed slaves could only be brought to intemalise the values of hard work, ambition and self-reliance through wage labour under the supervision and guidance of whites. These two approaches to post-emancipation policy, along with attitudes towards the broader question of confiscation, reveal that free labour ideology was being contested even before the end of the war, and had begun to fracture prior to the political and social conflicts of Reconstruction. Furthermore, the steps which Republicans had taken to provide ex-slaves with access to land demonstrated the appeal of the arguments developed by supporters of land redistribution, but also revealed the persistent power of the more conservative, wagelabour centred position.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available