1. Explain some of the effects of the Civil War on the state of Georgia.
The state suffered a dramatic population change as one out of five Georgians who went to war never came back. This meant the workforce was greatly diminished. The formerly fertile land was devastated and laid waste, leaving minimal space for farming. There were not enough people to work the land, because the slaves were free, but homeless. There was no money, because Confederate money was worthless, and that was all some Southerners had. At the start of Reconstruction, Georgia had lost 75% of its wealth because of the Civil War.
2. Why was this a difficult time for former slaves?
They had to make their own way in the world. They were free but homeless. They had no money and no land.
3. What had slaves been promised? Why did the promise go unfulfilled?
At the end of the war, Gen. Sherman had met with black leaders and promised the slaves “40 acres and a mule.” The sea islands along coast of Georgia that had been abandoned by their former slave owners fleeing from northern troops were going to be given to these former slaves. The promise was unfulfilled because the white owners received a pardon from Pres. Johnson and reclaimed their land.
4. Compare and contrast life as a slave and as a sharecropper.
Like slaves, a sharecropper had no land, no home, and no tools and they worked someone else’s land. Unlike slavery, however, sharecroppers were able to keep 1/2 of the crop while the other half went to the landowner. In return, sharecroppers were given a place to live and the tools to work the land. While technically sharecroppers were free, they often owed debt to the landowners, forcing them to stay on the farm.