Property Law as Labor Control in the Postbellum South
33 Law and History Review 351
Posted: 9 Feb 2013 Last revised: 12 May 2015
Date Written: January 11, 2013
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.
Keywords: Reconstruction, postbellum South, trespass, race, open range
JEL Classification: K11, N41, J15, J43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation