SAT Subject US History Practice Question 932: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 932

13. In the post-Reconstruction South, the economic arrangement known as sharecropping involved

A. groups of freed African American laborers working for wages on large plantations.
B. agricultural workers signing contracts that bound them to a particular plantation for a period of time.
C. former slaves being granted ownership rights to tracts of land that had previously been owned by slaveholders.
D. landowners dividing up their land and allowing growers to use plots of land in exchange for a portion of the yearly yield.
E. the gradual transition from a purely cash-crop agricultural economy to a mixed economy of farming and manufacturing.

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Sharecropping was an economic arrangement that developed in the South during and after Reconstruction. Sharecroppers worked a small plot of the plantation owner's land in return for a share of the crop. Generally, sharecroppers were in perpetual debt to the landowner. African Americans tried to avoid working in "gangs" for wages on large plantations (A). The practice, in many ways, re-created the power relations of the slavery era. The signing of labor contracts (B) is associated with indentured servitude, a practice that had ended by 1800. Many freedmen and women urged the federal government to redistribute land (C) and grant ex-slaves "40 acres and a mule," but this never became a reality. Manufacturing (E) did not gain a substantial foothold in the South in the 19th century.

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