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Life for poor whites was not a whole lot better than life for the freed slaves. They did, of course, have more in the way of rights and were more respected by society as a whole. However, this only meant that they were not the very bottom of the social pyramid. Many, many poor whites ended up caught in the same sharecropping and crop-lien systems that kept freed slaves in poverty. They essentially were stuck in a system that ensured that they would be permanently indebted to the land owners.
Poor white Southerners were better off than poor black Southerners during Reconstruction, but their lives were almost as bad in terms of material wealth and indebtedness.
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