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An Agrarian RepublicFarming, Antislavery Politics, and Nature Parks in the Civil War Era$
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Adam Wesley Dean

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469619910

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469619910.001.0001

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Seeking Peace in the South and West

Seeking Peace in the South and West

(p.135) Five Seeking Peace in the South and West
An Agrarian Republic

Adam Wesley Dean

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explains how Republicans applied their ideas by connecting land use with social structure to both the South and the West during the Reconstruction. Republicans called for an end to the treaty system characterizing Indian and United States relations. They argued that forcing Indians to become small farmers would open up more land for whites and help “civilize” recalcitrant tribes. Likewise, some Republicans believed that the big plantations of the South needed to be divided and redistributed to former slaves and white unionists so that a yeomen class could form in the South. The Southern Homestead Act of 1866 used 1862 legislation pertaining to the American West as a model to grant small plots of public land to Unionist whites and freedmen in the former Confederacy. However, by the 1880s the Republican Party stopped favoring small farmers in almost every arena except Indian policy. Even in Indian policy, allotment would fail to create a prosperous Indian yeomanry.

Keywords:   Republicans, Reconstruction, land use, social structure, agriculture policy, small farmers, Southern Homestead Act of 1866, Indian policy, yeomanry

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