The Reconstruction of Southern Debtors: Bankruptcy After the Civil War

Studies in the Legal History o
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Based on a careful empirical study of nearly four thousand cases filed in three southern federal districts, this book focuses on how the Bankruptcy Act of 1867 helped shape the course and outcome of Reconstruction. Although passed by a Republican-dominated Congress that was commonly viewed as a punitive towards the post Cival War South, and Bankruptcy Act was a great benefit to southerners. In this first study of the operation of the 1867 Act, Elizabeth Lee Thompson challenges previous works, which maintain that nineteenth-century southerners uniformly opposed federal bankruptcy laws as threatening extensions of federal power. To the contrary, Thompson finds that southerners, faced with the war's devastation, werte more likely to file for bankruptcy than debtors in other parts of the country. The act thus was the major piece of federal economic legislation that benefited southerners during Reconstruction. Thompson determines that because the vast majority of the Bankruptcy Act's southern beneficiaries were propertied white men, the legislation served to stabilize the entrench the postwar economic--and thus social and political--power of the sector that had recently formed the leading secessionists and Confederates. Their participation in a federal process, through federal tribunals, during an era of intense white southern opposition to policies emanating from Washington reveals the complex interaction of states-rights ideology and self-interest. However, Thompson shows, white southerners ultimately sacrificed neither in relation to the Bankruptcy Act. After thousands had received economic relief through the statute and the number of filings had slowed to a trickle, southern congressmensupported the act's repeal in 1878.
Autor: Elizabeth Thompson
Editiert von: Paul Finkelman
Elizabeth Lee Thompson is an independent scholar who holds a law degree and a Ph.D. in history.

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Autor: Elizabeth Thompson
ISBN-13 :: 9780820326245
ISBN: 0820326240
Erscheinungsjahr: 01.08.2004
Verlag: UNIV OF GEORGIA PR
Gewicht: 476g
Seiten: 222
Sprache: Englisch
Auflage New
Sonstiges: Buch, 233x165x23 mm
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