In this Book

summary
In Delta Empire: Lee Wilson and the Transformation of Agriculture in the New South Jeannie Whayne employs the fascinating history of a powerful plantation owner in the Arkansas delta to recount the evolution of southern agriculture from the late nineteenth century through World War II. After his father’s death in 1870, Robert E. “Lee” Wilson inherited 400 acres of land in Mississippi County, Arkansas. Over his lifetime, he transformed that inheritance into a 50,000-acre lumber operation and cotton plantation. Early on, Wilson saw an opportunity in the swampy local terrain, which sold for as little as fifty cents an acre, to satisfy an expanding national market for Arkansas forest reserves. He also led the fundamental transformation of the landscape, involving the drainage of tens of thousands of acres of land, in order to create the vast agricultural empire he envisioned. A consummate manager, Wilson employed the tenancy and sharecropping system to his advantage while earning a reputation for fair treatment of laborers, a reputation—Whayne suggests—not entirely deserved. He cultivated a cadre of relatives and employees from whom he expected absolute devotion. Leveraging every asset during his life and often deeply in debt, Wilson saved his company from bankruptcy several times, leaving it to the next generation to successfully steer the business through the challenges of the 1930s and World War II. Delta Empire traces the transition from the labor-intensive sharecropping and tenancy system to the capital-intensive neo-plantations of the post–World War II era to the portfolio plantation model. Through Wilson’s story Whayne provides a compelling case study of strategic innovation and the changing economy of the South in the late nineteenth century.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-xi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. pp. 1-7
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 1. THE SHAPING OF THE LAND
  2. pp. 8-33
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2. THE MAKING OF THE MAN
  2. pp. 34-59
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 3. A RIVER OF WOE: Reshaping the Land
  2. pp. 60-86
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 4. A NEW SOUTH ENTREPRENEUR IN THE PROGRESSIVE ERA
  2. pp. 87-112
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 5. BUILDING IT OF BRICK AND HOLLOW TILE
  2. pp. 113-140
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 6. “THE WIND HAVE CHANGED”: The Flood of 1927
  2. pp. 141-162
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 7. “GET HARD AND RAISE HELL”
  2. pp. 163-183
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 8. CHANGING OF THE GUARD
  2. pp. 184-210
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 9. THE RETURN OF THE “CLASS BOY”
  2. pp. 211-232
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Image Plates
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Appendix: Tables
  2. pp. 233-244
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 245-285
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 287-298
  3. restricted access Download |

Additional Information

ISBN
9780807138564
Print ISBN
9780807138557
MARC Record
OCLC
757260996
Pages
320
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
N
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.