history assignment

Agriculture in the South changed following the Civil War. Most of the large plantations and many farms were destroyed during the fighting in the South.  Most of the land owners had lost their main source of labor.   Former slaves needed work and a place to live.  For most slaves the only skills they had were as farm laborers.  Former slave owners needed labor to work the land and plant a crop but had no money to pay that labor.  The result was an arrangement called share cropping.  During the depression of the 1880s prices of farm equipment, fertilizer, and seed increased while profits from the crops decreased.  Sharecroppers were mostly former slaves dependent on their share of the  profits to provide for their families .  There were some poor white sharecroppers, but most were black.  This life was a cycle of debt that both black and whites found extremely hard to end.  The basic plan was the landowner agreed to let the share cropper and his family live on their land and plant a crop. This provided the family a house which was sometimes a former slave quarter.  They had the use of the land and usually kept chickens, and pigs.  They usually kept a garden that provided much of their food.   At the end of the year the share cropper paid the land owner a percentage of the profits from the sale of the crop.  When the crops were good this would benefit both the share cropper and the land owner. 

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