How did the “New South” (of terrorism, Jim Crow, and sharecropping) relate to broader trends in the U.S., such as industrialization and free labor ideology?

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If there is a point of contact between these phenomena, it would be that all of them ignore the needs of the poorer classes of people and are based on the economic dictates of the ruling class.

In the South, Jim Crow laws--and discriminatory practices in general--were intended to keep African Americans and blacks in a permanent, subordinate class. Though there were no indications of returning to literal slavery (as the "New South" was defined by the absence of slavery), the implementation of Jim Crow laws, the physical intimidation by terrorist groups like the Klan, and the practice of peonage (or "debt slavery") ensured that black people would be at a permanent disadvantage when it came to wages, voting and housing rights, and education.

Furthermore, industrialism in the North was characterized by the exploitation of lower classes. The period after the Civil War was considered "the gilded age," but only for certain social groups; huge amounts of wealth were being accumulated by the owner class, and theories of "social Darwinism" became fashionable (even among religious people) to justify the wealth disparity in this prosperous period. The idea behind social Darwinism mimicked standard Darwinism; "survival of the fittest" was the controlling principle, and it was believed that the strong would inevitably overcome the weak. However, the "weak" in this period included industrial workers, who worked under unsafe conditions and were paid the lowest wages possible in order for the "strong," the factory owners, to accumulate maximum profit--at the expense of their employees.

While industrial workers in the North were treated better than the newly freed people in the South, the working conditions in factories were nevertheless appalling by modern standards, and the wages were abysmal. Before the Union movement took hold and established safety and wage requirements, there were many who believed that an uprising of workers was imminent. Books written in the first decade of the twentieth century frequently dealt directly with the subject of workers rights. Such works included Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and Jack London's The Iron Heel (a dystopian novel in which an incipient workers' rebellion is crushed, and a dictatorship of the owning class known as "the Oligarchs" is established).

The North and the South were marked by exploitations of lower-class people, and were characterized by insidious institutions and practices that sustained the subordinate social standing of these workers.

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