Skip to comments.The Truth Behind '40 Acres and a Mule': Find out who came up with the idea, and how it fell through
Posted on 01/09/2013 6:11:07 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
We've all heard the story of the "40 acres and a mule" promise to former slaves. It's a staple of black history lessons, and it's the name of Spike Lee's film company. The promise was the first systematic attempt to provide a form of reparations to newly freed slaves, and it was astonishingly radical for its time, proto-socialist in its implications. In fact, such a policy would be radical in any country today: the federal government's massive confiscation of private property -- some 400,000 acres -- formerly owned by Confederate land owners, and its methodical redistribution to former black slaves. What most of us haven't heard is that the idea really was generated by black leaders themselves.
It is difficult to stress adequately how revolutionary this idea was: As the historian Eric Foner puts it in his book, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, "Here in coastal South Carolina and Georgia, the prospect beckoned of a transformation of Southern society more radical even than the end of slavery." Try to imagine how profoundly different the history of race relations in the United States would have been had this policy been implemented and enforced; had the former slaves actually had access to the ownership of land, of property; if they had had a chance to be self-sufficient economically, to build, accrue and pass on wealth. After all, one of the principal promises of America was the possibility of average people being able to own land, and all that such ownership entailed. As we know all too well, this promise was not to be realized for the overwhelming majority of the nation's former slaves, who numbered about 3.9 million.
What Exactly Was Promised?(continued)
(Excerpt) Read more at theroot.com ...
This country could have saved itself a lot of grief by inventing the mechanical cotton picker 100 years earlier than it finally did.
O.K., let’s do it and repossess the generational EBT cards, subsidized housing, Medicaid, affirmative action, etc., etc.
Try to imagine how profoundly different the history of race relations in the United States would have been had this policy been implemented and enforced; had the former slaves actually had access to the ownership of land, of property; if they had had a chance to be self-sufficient economically, to build, accrue and pass on wealth.
At some level, Gates actually understands capitalism and the ownership and protection of property as the best way to help people prosper. I wish he would explain this to his pal Obama.
We have lots of federal land in Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, etc.
The true freedom of slaves didn’t happen until almost a hundred years later in 1963 ... and it was a Republican that did it. The Democrats held on to slavery with that “Separate but Equal” nonsense plus that segregation stuff. The black population votes Democrat that kept them in slavery and to a religion that sold them into it.
President Woodrow Wilson (as just one example) was 10 times the racist that President Jefferson Davis or any other high-level Confederate probably ever was.
The actual, amazing untold story here is that WITHOUT government forced redistribution by 1880 blacks owned 10% of the land in the south-—this coming from people who had been in chains a mere 15 years earlier. That is an astounding record.
Yep. Some of my ancestors were burned out of AL during Reconstruction for resisting. (they were not slave owners, but owned property) Those were evil corrupt times that are not clearly understood by most because history books do not cover the reality of what happened then.
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Sounds a lot like South Arica to me.
The Government took the land from Whites and gave it to blacks. They sat around shucking and jiving and nobody grew anything.
That is exactly what would have happened if 40 acres and a mule had come to fruition.
By he way if Spike Lee’s production outfit is named 40 acres and a mule they should change the name correctly to 40 acres and an ass
Every time I see that bumper sticker, I’m surprised the car hasn’t been burned down to its chassis.
Can you give sources or references? Inquiring minds want to know!
Thanks for your post.
Good farmland of "40 acres and a mule" in today's terms is more-or-less $200,000 ($100k to $400k depending on location, location, location).
$200,000 invested at an (optimistic) 5% annual return generates annual income of $10,000.
In other words, annual government welfare payments of $10,000 per family equate to the present value of "40 acres and a mule".
Today's annual welfare costs total around $1 trillion of which perhaps 40% goes to descendants of slaves (40 million), which means their per capita welfare costs are around $10,000 per year.
Even if we (falsely) assume all slave descendants receive government assistance, and an average family size of three (mother and two children), then welfare costs $30,000 per family per year, or three times the value of "40 acres and a mule".
In short, it would have been vastly cheaper for the Federal government in 1865 (or even today!) to simply buy abandoned farmland, and give it away to former slaves, on the one and only condition that they, or their descendants, would make no further welfare claims on any government agency.
The biggest social problem in this nation is how to create a nurturing environment for the 5th and 6th generation offspring of single women so these children are not condemned to the perpetual cycle of poverty and dependence. In our current progressive culture these children will not develop the skills and self discipline to compete in normal society nor do they have the role models to show them an alternative path. Over the past 50 years we’ve proven academic white papers, bloated government bureaucracies, rhetoric from community organizers, boatloads of government money and government imposed affirmative action will not break the self perpetuating cycle.
We could give every black person in America a reparations check for $200,000 today. In five years most of the residents of the progressive plantation would be mired in poverty demanding another check. Eric Holder says he wants a frank conversation on race. Let’s ask Eric what he proposes to do about the cultural problem that is holding his people down.
I understand your points and agree.
My only point here is that compared to what we do now, "40 acres and a mule" -- whether literal or figurative -- would be not only vastly cheaper, but also more effective.
How do they say it?
Second, as we have seen with courts, it doesn't matter what the agreement with the freedmen or their descendants---some would still seek reparations or end up on welfare.
Last, as I showed they didn't NEED free land--- they just needed an equal chance before the law and they would get land just as whites did.
Forty acres and a mule was not needed---just fair enforcement of the law.