Following the Civil War, both southern planters and the United States government strongly believed that the continuation of the plantation system was central to the economic well-being of the south and to the nation as a whole. In order to continue this system, a dependent, disciplined labor force was needed (Foner, 1988). Therefore, both the government and the white southern planters employed various strategies aimed to produce such a labor force, the majority of which was to be made up of freedmen and people of color. However, the goal of the freedmen was to live autonomous and self-sufficient lives, which was fundamentally opposed to the purpose of the government and southern planters. Because of this opposition, the debate concerning labor issues was central in the formation of Reconstruction policies. Resulting from this debate during Reconstruction were policies enacted with the intent to control labor. This original intent has been perpetuated in today’s welfare policies, and can be seen through various regulations which result in the funneling of welfare recipients into low-wage labor. As the link between Reconstruction and current welfare becomes apparent, the original justifications for the control of labor become clear, and the practices used during Reconstruction to control labor are seen to inappropriately continue on in our social welfare system. This control is harmful to recipients as it works against the elimination of poverty, and in many cases sustains it.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Hallelujah! I am done!
Finally finished my paper for my antislavery movements class!!! Here's my intro paragraph...continue at your own risk! :) I based it on the welfare system, since that's what I'm doing for my master's project. I'll put up my intro to that one later for some feedback!