The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Upper South

**book jacket**

As slavery collapsed during the American Civil War, former slaves struggled to secure their liberty, reconstitute their families, and create institutions befitting a free people. But no problem loomed larger than finding a means of support. How would freedpeople feed and clothe themselves? Would they be able to obtain land, draft animals, and tools? Would they or would others benefit from their labor? What, concretely, would freedom mean? This volume of Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation examines the emergence of free labor in the regions of the Upper South that either remained in the Union or came under federal military control during the war: tidewater Virginia and North Carolina, the District of Columbia, middle and east Tennessee, northern Alabama, and the border states of Maryland, Missouri, and Kentucky. It describes the experiences of former slaves as military laborers, as residents of federally sponsored “contraband camps,” as wage laborers on farms and in towns, and, in some instances, as independent farmers and self-employed workers. It portrays the different – and often conflicting – understandings of freedom advanced by the many participants in the wartime evolution of free labor: former slaveholders, Union military authorities, Northern missionaries, and the freedpeople themselves.

814 pp.  Table of contents (pdf)  |  Index (pdf)

The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Upper South received the Founders Award of the Confederate Memorial Literary Society and the Thomas Jefferson Prize of the Society for History in the Federal Government.

Copies of The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Upper South may be purchased from Cambridge University Press online, by telephone (800-872-7423), or by fax (914-937-4712).

Selected Documents from the Volume