Synopses & Reviews
A sweeping overview of the American peasantry: the largely sharecrop cultivators who, in Seavoy's analysis, rejected the labor norms of commercial agriculture. About equal numbers of black and white sharecroppers chose to practice subsistence cultivation in order to minimize agricultural labor. The study begins with pre-Civil War slave plantations and the landless white peasants who migrated to North America to escape full-time paid labor in Britain. Seavoy then describes and analyzes the operation of the postbellum sharecrop system and related Back Caste System; the different origins of southern and northern Populism; the massive displacement of southern peasants (after 1950) when cotton cultivation was fully mechanized, and how the voluntary joblessness of the urban underclass has been perpetuated by the welfare entitlements of the Great Society.
Ronald Seavoy has written a provocative book.The Journal of American History
[a]mbitious and provocative...Agricultural History
A sweeping overview of the American "peasantry" from the pre-Civil war era to the contemporary underclass.
About the Author
RONALD E. SEAVOY is with the Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington. Previous books by the author include The Origins of the American Business Corporation, 1784-1855 (Greenwood, 1982), Famine in Peasant Societies (Greenwood, 1986), and Famine in East Africa (Greenwood, 1989).
Table of Contents
Subsistence and Commercial Labor
The Slave Plantation
The First Emancipation
The Labor Question
Sharecrop Tenure in Omsration
Black Caste System
Peasants and Farmers
New Deal Agricultural Policies