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Between Slavery and CapitalismThe Legacy of Emancipation in the American South$
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Martin Ruef

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691162775

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691162775.001.0001

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Institutional Transformation and Uncertainty

Institutional Transformation and Uncertainty

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 Institutional Transformation and Uncertainty
Source:
Between Slavery and Capitalism
Author(s):

Martin Ruef

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691162775.003.0001

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the institutional transformation of the American South after the U.S. Civil War. Although the emancipation of former slaves and political upheavals of Radical Reconstruction are perhaps the most evident features of this institutional transformation, it touched upon almost every aspect of Southern society, ranging from urban life to class structure to the organizations that populated the region's agriculture and industry. The New South that resulted after Radical Reconstruction evidenced a more capitalist and market-driven society than its antebellum counterpart. Enduring uncertainty was a defining feature of this transition between precapitalist and capitalist institutions. The chapter then formulates a general theory regarding the evolution of uncertainty over the course of institutional transformation, and discusses the specific transitions toward capitalism that occurred in the economy of the U.S. South during the postbellum era.

Keywords:   institutional transformation, American South, U.S. Civil War, emancipation, former slaves, Radical Reconstruction, New South, capitalism, postbellum era

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