How critical was the failure of land redistribution for African Americans? Was sharecropping an acceptable substitute for achieving economic freedom? Why or why not?
In the early days of Reconstruction, the Freedman's Bureau made the dream of land ownership a reality for many newly-freed slaves. Radical Republicans understood that the formal freedom provided by the Fourteenth Amendment needed to be supplemented by the substantive economic freedom that widespread land ownership among AfricanAmericans would bring.
However, by 1872 public support for Reconstruction was on the wane, without the necessary political will in Washington to keep the policy alive. Under pressure from Southerners in Congress, the government quietly dismantled the Freedmen's...
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