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Punishment, rewards, and expropriation

Masters also rewarded slaves who performed will with patches of land ranging up to a few acres for each afamily. Slaves grew marketable crops on these lands, the proceeds of which accrued to them. On the Texas plantation of Julian S. Devereux, slaves operating such land produced as much as two bales of cotton per patch Devereux marketed their crop along with his own. In a good year some of the slaves earned in excess of $100 per annum for their families. Devereux set up accounts to which he credited the proceeds of the sales. Slaves drew on these accounts when they wanted cash or when they wanted Devereux to purchase closthing, pots, pans, tobacco, or similar goods for them.

Occasionally planters even devised elaborate schemes for profit sharing with their slaves. William Jemison, an Alabama planter, entered into the following agreement with his bondsmen.

"[Y]ou shall have two thirds of the corn and cotton made on the plantation and as much of the wheat as will reward you for the sowing it. I also furnish you with provisions for this year. When your crop is gathered, on third is to be set aside for me. You are then to pay your overseer his part and pay me what I furnish, clothe yourselves, pay your own taxes and doctor's fee with all expenses of the farm. You are to be no expense to me, but render to me one third of the produce and what I have loaned you. You have the use of the stock and plantation tools. You are to return them as good as they are and the plantation to be kept in good repair, and what clear money you make shall be divided equally amongst you in a fair proportion agreeable to the services rendered by each hand. There will be an account of all lost time kept, and those that earn most shall have most."

[Engerman and Fogel, Time on the Cross, p 148 - 153]

And you will learn to like it, this master plan of modern monetary policy, or you will discover an alternative means to make your livelihood and master it.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:29:01 PM EST
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