Sharecropping: Crops

Figure 1.--Sharecropping appeared after the Civil War and Emancipation. I was a way of using the land without slavery. The principal crop continued to be cotton, although other cash crops included rice and tobacco. Here we see a boy and his mother or grandmother in a cotton field after a day of picking cotton somewhere in the Deep South. The photograph is undated, but we would guess was taken in the early-20 century, probably the 1900s. The Southern states lagged behind the nation in both child labor and mandatory school attendance laws.

A major difference between share cropping and and the related tenant farm system is that there was more supervision involved over share cropers. And this included the selection of the crop to be raised. The principal crop raised by share croppers from the beginning continued to be cotton. A variety of crops were grown such as tobacco and rice depending on location and market conditions. Cotton was, however, by far the most important cash crop and the one raised by most share croppers. It was generally the real money crop. The individuald financing the share cropper, land owner or merchant insistd insisted on a cash crop being grown and this was primarily cotton. The same methods continued to be used, labor intensive agriculture. Unlike other major crops, few technical innovations developoed in cotton agriculture throughout the history of share croppong. The availability of cheap labor meant that there was little incentive to innovate. As late as the 1930s, cotton farming except for the disappearance of the plantations was little different than in ante-bellum era.


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Created: 12:58 AM 1/29/2017
Last updated: 12:59 AM 1/29/2017