The New World of Farming

May 21, 1866


The South's system of agricultural labor has completely changed. Former slaveowners no longer have charge of unproductive portion of community- women, children, elderly.


The New World of Farming. The great revolution which has taken place in our system of labor forces upon the agricultural community an entire new system of farming. To them there must be a new heaven and a new earth. All old customs must be abolished, and new regulations and rules must take their place. Tho annihilation of the property in slaves is only inconvenient with reference to the credit that property gave its owner, or to its convertibility into money. But considered as mere labor, the change of its character is no loss whatever. As slave, it was, indeed, more expensive than as free. The owner had the charge of all the helpless and unproductive part of the community - i.e. the women, children, and aged. This more than counterbalanced any gain of the system compared with free labor (from the able-bodied and productive part of the slaves. If we bring ourselves to look upon the subject in this light- which is the true one- we may proceed to adapt ourselves to the revolution in labor with more cheerfulness and energy.
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Brooke Beam




“The New World of Farming,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 18, 2022,