Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867
Series 3, Volume 1: Land and Labor, 1865
Publication Year: 2008
In the tense and often violent aftermath of emancipation, former slaves seeking to ground their liberty in economic independence came into conflict with former owners determined to keep them dependent and subordinate. Overseeing that conflict were northern officials with their own notions of freedom, labor, and social order. This volume of Freedom depicts the dramatic events that ensued--the eradication of bondage and the contest over restoring land to ex-Confederates; the introduction of labor contracts and the day-to-day struggles that engulfed the region's plantations, farms, and other workplaces; the achievements of those freedpeople who attained a measure of independence; and rumors of a year-end insurrection in which ex-slaves would seize the land they had been denied and exact revenge for past oppression.
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Download PDF (172.5 KB)
Title Page, Copyright Page
Download PDF (97.6 KB)
Download PDF (60.4 KB)
Download PDF (40.8 KB)
Publication of Land and Labor, 1865, the first volume of Freedom pertaining to the Reconstruction years, offers a welcome opportunity to thank the people and insti-tutions that have made possible the work of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project. Like its predecessors, this volume is the culmination of years of labor by many people, most of whose names do not appear on the title page. Our debts have ...
Download PDF (76.5 KB)
No event in American history matches the drama of emancipation. More than a century later, it continues to stir the deepest emotions. And properly so. In the United States emancipation accompanied the military defeat of the world’s most powerful slaveholding class. It freed a larger number of slaves than did the end of slavery in all other New World societies combined. Clothed in the rhetoric of ...
The rendition of nineteenth-century manuscripts into print proceeds at best along a tortuous path. Transcribing handwritten documents into a standardized, more accessible form inevitably sacrifices some of their evocative power. The scrawl pen-ciled by a hard-pressed army commander, the letters painstakingly formed by an ex-slave new to the alphabet, and the practiced script of a professional clerk all reduce ...
Elements of a Document
Download PDF (66.6 KB)
Sir it is With Much Pleser That I seat my self Tu Rit you a few lines Tu Now if you can Git The Bounty That is Cuming Tu us & We hear That The ar Mor for us if The ar Pleas Tu let us Now & if you Can git it With or Discharges if you Can I shod lik for you Tu Du so sum of The Boys ar Giting on Esey A Bout Thear Papars & The ...
Download PDF (36.8 KB)
...[roman] Words or letters in roman type within brackets represent editorial inference or conjecture of parts of manuscripts that are illegible, [ . . . ] A three-dot ellipsis within brackets represents illegible or obscured words that the editors cannot decipher. If there is more than one . . .⁵ A three-dot ellipsis and a note represent words or passages entirely ...
Symbols Used to Describe Manuscripts
Download PDF (26.6 KB)
Symbols used to describe the handwriting, form, and signature of each document The first capital letter describes the handwriting of the document:H handwritten by other than the author (for example, by a clerk)The second capital letter, with lower-case modifier when appropriate, describes the For example, among the more common symbols are ALS (autograph letter, signed ...
Abbreviations for Record Groups in the National Archives of the United States
Download PDF (26.6 KB)
Download PDF (38.8 KB)
Military and Other Abbreviations
Download PDF (39.7 KB)
LAND AND LABOR, 1865
Download PDF (308.6 KB)
As Confederate forces laid down their arms during the spring of 1865, concluding four years of civil war, events across the South bore witness to the dissolution of slavery and the collapse of the social order it had sustained.¹ Everywhere, it seemed, 1. This essay is based primarily on the documents included in this volume, documents pub-lished in other volumes of Freedom, and unpublished documents in the files of the Freedmen ...
CHAPTER 1 The Novel Condition of Freedom
Download PDF (698.9 KB)
The end of slavery in the American South put former slaves and former slave-holders in situations for which they were not and could not have been fully pre-pared.¹ Slavery had inf_luenced every aspect of life; its death amid a bloody civil war would reshape all manner of human relationships. But nobody knew just what would change, how fast, or on whose terms. “All men accustomed to a system of ...
CHAPTER 2 Overseeing Freedom
Download PDF (874.8 KB)
Victory in the Civil War confirmed for Northerners the superiority of their society, including the labor arrangements in which it was grounded. With slaveholders defeated and slavery destroyed, the way now lay open to remake the South in the image of the North. Liberating the slaves was an indispensable first step, but much more remained to be done. The social and legal institutions of the former slave ...
CHAPTER 3 Coming to Terms
Download PDF (575.6 KB)
For Northerners intent upon constructing a free-labor South, the contract was not only a legal instrument, but also a metaphor for the social relations that would re-place chattel slavery. The very act of entering into contracts, they believed, would transform slaveholders and slaves into new people—employers and employees—whose relationship was mediated by an impersonal market rather than personal ...
CHAPTER 4 The Land Question
Download PDF (593.7 KB)
The Civil War unleashed an assault on the foundations of Southern power and property, the limits of which were ill-defined when the fighting ended. By abolish-ing slavery without compensation to the owners, the United States accomplished one of the largest liquidations of private property in world history. The war imper-iled other property of the defeated rebels as well. The federal government ended the ...
CHAPTER 5 Points of Contention
Download PDF (795.0 KB)
During the months that followed the end of the Civil War, former slaves and their employers navigated a tortuous passage from slavery to free labor. The journey’s hallmark was a struggle between newly liberated workers determined to define freedom on their own terms and former slaveholders equally determined to reassert authority over men, women, and children they no longer held in bondage. Former ...
CHAPTER 6 Dependency and Relief
Download PDF (518.0 KB)
Constructing free labor on the ruins of slavery entailed not only a recasting of work-place relations, but also a reconsideration of the social arrangements that provided for individuals unable to support themselves. Under slavery, owners had been re-sponsible for the maintenance of their slaves—of whatever age or physical condi-tion—from cradle to grave. After emancipation, that responsibility shifted mainly ...
CHAPTER 7 Measures of Independence
Download PDF (551.6 KB)
Having long been forced to work under the direction and for the benefit of their owners, ex-slaves aspired in freedom to control their own labor and receive its fruits. Self-employment and independent access to productive resources would, they believed, place their liberty on a secure foundation and advance their plans for themselves, their families, and their communities. For the great mass of former ...
CHAPTER 8 Settling Up
Download PDF (339.9 KB)
The conclusion of the 1865 agricultural year brought with it a moment of reckoning: a settlement in which former slaves—now free laborers—were to be compensated for the work they had performed. The experience was a novel one for both the freed-people and their former owners, and more was at stake than a mere tallying of cred-its and debits. The process of determining what freedpeople were owed brought ...
CHAPTER 9 Specters of Insurrection
Download PDF (686.6 KB)
During the closing months of 1865, as former slaves and former slaveholders tussled over the fruits of their first experience with free labor, substantial num-bers imagined a further settlement still to come. Among freedpeople, rumors had been spreading of an impending moment—probably on Christmas or New Year’s Day—when their freedom would be made more secure and their prospects ...
CHAPTER 10 Lessons Learned
Download PDF (1.0 MB)
The first season of postwar labor concluded amid preparations for a new agricultural year. Wage settlements for 1865 and the negotiation of contracts for 1866 became occasions to look back on the tumultuous months since the Confederate surrender, to plan for the future, and to ref_lect on lessons learned. The labor arrangements of 1865 had arisen from hasty improvisation. They ref_lected not only the conf_licting ...
Download PDF (5.1 MB)
Page Count: 1112
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2008
Volume Title: Series 3, Volume 1: Land and Labor, 1865