Property Law as Labor Control in the Postbellum South
Emory University School of Law
November 12, 2011
After the Civil War, state legislatures criminalized trespass, restricted hunting and fishing, and closed the range. Earlier studies cannot agree whether these changes in property law were motivated by racism or inevitably resulted from economic progress. This Article presents a more complete picture of the South and reports evidence that legal change was motivated by labor control. Like other legal change in the postbellum South, planters sought new laws to coerce blacks into working for low wages and under poor conditions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: Reconstruction, open range, fence law, game laws, trespass
JEL Classification: J15, J43, K11, N41
Date posted: November 13, 2011 ; Last revised: December 10, 2012