By John C. Rodrigue
In Reconstruction within the Cane Fields, John C. Rodrigue examines emancipation and the tricky transition from slavery to loose hard work in a single enclave of the South -- the cane sugar sector of southern Louisiana. unlike some of the different types of sharecropping and tenancy that changed slavery within the cotton South, salary exertions ruled the sugar undefined. Rodrigue demonstrates that the exact geographical and environmental specifications of sugar creation in Louisiana formed the recent exertions preparations. finally, he argues, the actual calls for of Louisiana sugar construction accorded freedmen ambitious bargaining strength within the contest with planters over loose labor.
Rodrigue addresses many matters pivotal to all post-emancipation societies: How could exertions be reorganized following slavery's death? Who might wield decision-making strength at the plantation? How have been former slaves to safe the culmination in their personal hard work? He reveals that whereas freedmen's operating and dwelling stipulations within the postbellum sugar resembled the prewar establishment, they didn't replicate a continuation of the powerlessness of slavery. as an alternative, freedmen switched over their abilities and information of sugar construction, their knowledge of ways simply they can disrupt the sugar plantation regimen, and their political empowerment in the course of Radical Reconstruction into leverage that they utilized in disputes with planters over wages, hours, and exertions stipulations. hence, sugar planters, faraway from being all-powerful overlords who dictated phrases to employees, have been pressured to regulate to an rising exertions marketplace in addition to to black political power.
The exertions preparations specific to postbellum sugar plantations not just propelled the freedmen's political mobilization in the course of Radical Reconstruction, Rodrigue indicates, but additionally helped to maintain black political energy -- at the very least for many years -- past Reconstruction's loss of life in 1877.
By exhibiting that freedmen, lower than the correct situations, have been prepared to consent to salary hard work and to paintings exercises that strongly resembled these of slavery, Reconstruction within the Cane Fields deals a profound interpretation of ways former slaves outlined freedom in slavery's quick aftermath. it's going to turn out crucial interpreting for all scholars of southern, African American, agricultural, and exertions history.