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Chapter 15"What Is Freedom?": Reconstruction, 1865–1877
The Meaning of FreedomBlacks and the Meaning of FreedomNegative Freedom vs Positive FreedomLand OwnershipCivil RightsFreedom Contested/Contradictory
The Meaning of FreedomFamilies in FreedomSought loved ones separated by sales and purchaseWives, children, parentsStrengthen familial bondsRecognize marriagesPensions by Black soldiers sought- economic securityAdoption of existing American family structureMen place in the workplaceWomen and children at homePovertyChurch and SchoolIndependent churches Baptist and Methodist Churches grew rapidly in the Post War periodCentral to black life, providing educational, social and political spacesImprovement through educationSought the ability to read religious and political literatureFirst Black Colleges founded
The Meaning of FreedomPolitical FreedomThe Right to vote.Free association in Public sphere.Organizing political groups and candidates.Celebration of 4thof July.Land, Labor, and FreedomOwnership.Economic life.Meaning of Freedom – Open ended process of liberation vs. Birthright.
The Meaning of FreedomMasters without SlavesMany Plantation owners had to work land themselves for the first time in their lives.Sought to preserve the political and social dominance of plantation society, in spite of the absence of slaves.Preserve Hierarchy and masteryThe Free Labor VisionImposition of free wage labor in the South.Expectation that freed Blacks would become wage workers and landowners.Agrarian vs Industrial Society.
The Meaning of FreedomThe Freedmen’s BureauEstablished by Congress March 1865Free labor systemEstablish schools, give aid to poor and elderly, solve disputesEnsure equal treatment under law for both former slaves and White UnionistsThe Failure of Land ReformBelieved that sound race relations rested on fair wages Freed people wanted land, not wage workUS troops forcibly evicted black who had been given land by Union forcesRural former slaves stayed poor and property-less Forced into menial and unskilled labor