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“It Looks Much Like Abandoned Land”: Property and the Politics of Loyalty in Reconstruction Mississippi

Mathisen, Erik (2013) “It Looks Much Like Abandoned Land”: Property and the Politics of Loyalty in Reconstruction Mississippi. In: Kelly, Brian and Baker, Bruce, eds. After Slavery: Race, Labor and Citizenship in the Reconstruction South. University of Florida Press, pp. 77-94. ISBN 978-0-8130-4477-4. (doi:10.5744/florida/9780813044774.003.0005) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:69579)

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In post-Civil War Mississippi, loyalty—the measuring of an individual's faithful allegiance to government—became something of a political currency, used by whites to secure the property of those who had lost their land or possessions. In countless local battles over property, white Mississippians attempted to minimize their past transgressions as former Confederates and claim a renewed spirit of Unionism, often with checkered results. Understanding the impact of this process focuses attention on the opportunities afforded African Americans to both proclaim their loyalty and claim property. African Americans learned how to make use of their new relationship with the federal state, leveraging their loyalty in return for federal protection and civic rights. Claiming their loyalty to the Union as both more profound and trustworthy when compared to that of former Confederates, African Americans used the politics of loyalty to make a bid for citizenship and possessions they believed were rightfully theirs.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.5744/florida/9780813044774.003.0005
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Erik Mathisen
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2018 15:03 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:25 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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