Cover image for The work of Reconstruction : from slave to wage laborer in South Carolina, 1860-1870
The work of Reconstruction : from slave to wage laborer in South Carolina, 1860-1870
Saville, Julie.
Personal Author:
First paperback edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Physical Description:
xiv, 221 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
General Note:
First published 1994.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F274 .S38 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This book examines social, political, and cultural conflicts opened by the abolition of slavery and the fashioning of wage relations in the era of the American Civil War. It offers a new, close look at the origins, goals, and tactics of popular political clubs created by emancipated workers in the countryside of one of the Deep South's oldest plantation states. The Work of Reconstruction draws on a rich documentary record that allowed ex-slaves to express in their own words and behavior the aspirations and goals that underlay their efforts. Not satisfied to render freed men and women as objects of theoretical inquiry, this book vividly recovers the concrete practices and language in which ex-slaves achieved freedom and the expectations that they had of liberty.

Table of Contents

Part I Freedom versus Freedom: Competing Visions of Emancipation
1 Antebellum field slaves labor: regional overviews
2 Twilight of slavery, dawn of freedom
3 Rebels and rebels in disguise
Part II A Measure of Freedom: Plantation Workers and the Wartime Introduction of Wage Labor in Port Royal
4 Eluding the confederacys grasp
5 Inducing wage labor behind federal lines
6 Wartime planting
7 A dollar a task+
8 As hard times as they has see with the rebel
Part III Restoration and Reaction: The Struggle for Land in the Sherman Reserve
Part IV The Reconstruction of Work
9 Remaking family life and labor in the interior
10 Control of the crop
11 Control of supplemental plots
12 Working on shares
13 Holding onto land and time in the low country
14 Uncertain harvests: seasonalization of agricultural employment
Part V The Work of Reconstruction
15 Light in August
16 Why can't we be friends?
17 There's a meeting here tonight
18 A perfect system+?
19 On duty in the league
20 We the laboring men out of doors