The South was still prevailing on agriculture and its fertile soil and warm climate made it the optimal place for large farms and crops, such as cotton and tobacco.
Later, in 1840, the demand of cotton was so high that it was the export that was worth more than any other export. Despite of its massive production of cotton, the South did not have the manufacturing ability that the North had. This caused the South to use slave labor and eighty percent went into the agricultural work. However, the New South visualized a postwar economy to embrace the industrial revolution. Unfortunately, by 1900, the South’s income was much less than the national average, and rural poverty became a problem. Nonetheless of all the economic troubles, in the late 1880s, new accomplishments were forming, such as textile mills. In spite of all the new industries that emerged, African Americans and poor whites had a small role in this and were discriminated.
When Southerners could not have slaves after the Civil War, sharecropping and tenant farming took place. These systems consisted of white landlords, which where the ones who previously owned slaves, used contracts with poor farmers to work on their lands. The people who worked on the fields shared a fraction of the crop production with the landlord, this was considered as payment for renting the land. There were occasions when the landlord provided the money to buy the necessary equipment, including seeds, and the laborer did the work on fields, and other occasions was vice versa. However, after the war, the prices for crops, including cotton was low, the sharecroppers and tenant farmers ended owning money. This is called debt peonage, in which the money farmers made from selling their crops was not sufficient to pay back the loans.
This system caused black and white farmers live poverty and made the southern economy fester. Slaves were treated in the most horrifying ways. They were sold and traded as if they were property, families were torn apart and they were tortured. In 1865, slaves found hope and relief when the 13th Amendment was approved in 1865, in which it eradicated slavery throughout United States. Sadly, once freed, it was very hard for former slaves to find jobs due to their dearth of education, which is why the first welfare agency was settled, the Freedman’s Bureau. They helped freed slaves and poor white southerners by giving them food, education, ownership of properties, justice and medical care. This agency was lead by Major General Oliver O.
Howard and he turned it into one of the most powerful element of the Reconstruction. Freed slaves also wanted to reunite with their families so the Freedmen’s Bureau supplied transportation, they would also churches for them since Whites wouldn’t ket them be a part of theirs. The Bureau established around 3,000 schools for former slaves and it turned into the most successful accomplishment they ever did. About 4 million former slaves were aided by the Bureau, and even though they faced many problems they always helped those in need.