Freedom: Volume 3, Series 1: The Wartime Genesis of Free Labour: The Lower South: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867

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Union occupation of parts of the Confederacy during the Civil War forced federal officials to confront questions about the social order that would replace slavery. This volume of Freedom presents a documentary history of the emergence of free-labor relations in the large plantation areas of the Union-occupied Lower South. The documents illustrate the experiences of former slaves as military laborers, as residents of federally sponsored "contraband camps," as wage laborers on plantations and in towns, and in some instances, as independent farmers and self-employed workers. Together with the editors' interpretative essays, these documents portray the different understandings of freedom advanced by the many participants in the wartime evolution of free labor—former slaves and free blacks; former slaveholders; Union military officers and officials in Washington; and Northern planters, ministers and teachers. The war sealed the fate of slavery only to open a contest over the meaning of freedom. This volume documents an important chapter of that contest. Ira Berlin is the Director of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project, University of Maryland.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...the most authoritative and up-to-date examination of the wartime birth of a free labor economy in the Lower South yet produced....This volume stands with its predecessors as one of the most fascinating and important editorial projects of our time." Business History Review

"...superb volume...No richer collection of source material on the black experience during the Civil War exists anywhere in print." The Journal of Southern History

"The editorial work in this volume, like that of the earlier ones, is superb....In sum, the careful collection of documents, the meticulous editing, and the finding aids and cross-referencing make this volume, like those that preceded it, a major contribution to historical scholarship, invaluable for students and seasoned scholars alike." Journal of Economic History

"The three volumes that have appeared so far bring vividly to life the greatest drama of the nation's history—the liberation of four million African Americans from bondage." The New York Times Book Review

"...represents another milestone in the Freedmen and Southern Society project....[T]his volume brings the series to its halfway point and makes another contribution to the study of American labor and social history. Like other volumes in this series, The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Lower South should be applauded by scholars and students of labor and working-class history in national and international perspective....illuminates heretofore-obscure dimensions of one of the most complex and far-reaching social changes in American and African-American history: the initial transformation of slaves into a new working class." Joe W. Trotter, International Labor and Working-Class History

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Introduction; Editorial method; Symbols and abbreviations; 1. Low country South Carolina, Georgia and Florida; 2. Southern Louisiana; 3. The Mississippi Valley; Index.

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