- 1 What is the difference between a farmer and a tenant farmer?
- 2 How were sharecropping and tenant farming used during the Reconstruction Era?
- 3 What problems are associated with tenant farming and sharecropping?
- 4 How did sharecropping and tenant farming affect freed African Americans and poor white farmers?
- 5 What does tenant farmer mean?
- 6 Do tenant farmers still exist?
- 7 Why is sharecropping bad?
- 8 Did sharecropping help the economy?
- 9 Who benefited most from sharecropping?
- 10 Why did sharecropping and share tenancy develop?
- 11 Why was tenant farming important?
- 12 What was the major drawback of the sharecropping system?
- 13 Why did sharecropping lead to a cycle of poverty?
- 14 Did sharecropping solve problems?
- 15 How long did sharecropping and tenant farming last in the South?
What is the difference between a farmer and a tenant farmer?
Tenant farming is a system in which people have responsibility for working a specific plot of land, but they do not own that plot. This is different from modern farming where paid workers work wherever their employer tells them to. Instead, each tenant farmer works their “own” plot of land.
Instead of working in gangs as they had on antebellum plantations, the freedmen became tenants. The planter or landowner assigned each family a small tract of land to farm and provided food, shelter, clothing, and the necessary seeds and farm equipment.
The absence of cash or an independent credit system led to the creation of sharecropping. High interest rates, unpredictable harvests, and unscrupulous landlords and merchants often kept tenant farm families severely indebted, requiring the debt to be carried over until the next year or the next.
In addition, while sharecropping gave African Americans autonomy in their daily work and social lives, and freed them from the gang-labor system that had dominated during the slavery era, it often resulted in sharecroppers owing more to the landowner (for the use of tools and other supplies, for example) than they were
What does tenant farmer mean?
Tenant farming, agricultural system in which landowners contribute their land and a measure of operating capital and management while tenants contribute their labour with various amounts of capital and management, the returns being shared in a variety of ways.
Do tenant farmers still exist?
There are more tenant farmers than migrant workers in 2015. The typical migrant worker will be Mexican or Central American and will travel from harvest to harvest across the country and will face a variety of working conditions depending on the laws of any given state and the sympathies of any given employer.
Sharecropping was bad because it increased the amount of debt that poor people owed the plantation owners. Sharecropping was similar to slavery because after a while, the sharecroppers owed so much money to the plantation owners they had to give them all of the money they made from cotton.
During Reconstruction, former slaves–and many small white farmers–became trapped in a new system of economic exploitation known as sharecropping. Nevertheless, the sharecropping system did allow freedmen a degree of freedom and autonomy far greater than they experienced under slavery.
Sharecropping developed, then, as a system that theoretically benefited both parties. Landowners could have access to the large labor force necessary to grow cotton, but they did not need to pay these laborers money, a major benefit in a post-war Georgia that was cash poor but land rich.
Since the Civil War ended slavery, all the money that was invested in slaves was wiped out. The plantation economy – huge farms producing cotton or tobacco or rice based on forced labor – was destroyed. In this vacuum developed two new labor systems: sharecropping and tenant farming.
Why was tenant farming important?
Tenant farming has been important in the US from the 1870s to the present. Tenants typically bring their own tools and animals. To that extent it is distinguished from being a sharecropper, which is a tenant farmer who usually provides no capital and pays fees with crops.
Contracts between landowners and sharecroppers were typically harsh and restrictive. Many contracts forbade sharecroppers from saving cotton seeds from their harvest, forcing them to increase their debt by obtaining seeds from the landowner. Landowners also charged extremely high interest rates.
Instead, they struck a deal with a landowner, often a former master. Under this deal, the farmer would rent a plot of land to grow crops. In practice, sharecroppers did not make enough money from the half of the crops they could keep, placing them into debt and an endless cycle of poverty.
Generally speaking, sharecropping doomed freed formerly enslaved people to a life of poverty. And the system of sharecropping, in actual practice, doomed generations of Americans in the South to an impoverished existence in an economically stunted region.
Sharecropping, along with tenant farming, was a dominant form in the cotton South from the 1870s to the 1950s, among both blacks and whites.