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Sharecropping

  • Date Submitted: 10/31/2011 10:52 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 57.3 
  • Words: 623
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SHARECROPPING
WHEN: After the American Civil War (1861-1865)
DEFINITION: Sharecropping is a system of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crop produced on the land.
Sharecropping came to define the method of land lease that would eventually become a new form of slavery. Without land of their own, many blacks worked a portion of the land owned by whites for a share of the profit from the crops. They would get all the seeds, food, and equipment they needed from the company store, which allowed them to run a tab throughout the year and to settle up once the crops, usually cotton, were gathered. When accounting time came, the black farmer was always a few dollars short of what he owed the landowner, so he began the new year with a deficit. As that deficit grew, he found it impossible to escape from his situation by legal means. The hard, backbreaking work led to stooped, physically destroyed, and mentally blighted black people who could seldom envision escape for themselves or their children; their lives were an endless round of poor diet, fickle weather, and the unbeatable figures at the company store. Those with courage to match their imaginations escaped under cover of darkness to the North, that fabled land of opportunity.
RESULT: After time the system seemed quite similar to slavery. Blacks were again always having to work, with little hope of leaving.
Benefits for Blacks
The sharecropping system gave black workers to be free of the close daily control they had during slavery. Each black family had their own cabin and prepared its own land as a separate unit. Sharecroppers could at least hope by working hard and saving they might have enough money to buy a farm of their own someday. For them that would be complete freedom. This is the reason most blacks preferred sharecropping instead of working for wages
Benefits for Whites
Whites made up two thirds or more of the sharecroppers
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