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[Detail] Bill and Ellen Thomas, Ages 88 and 81

Historical Issues-Analysis and Decision Making: Considering Land Redistribution

Near the end of the Civil War, word spread throughout the South that freedmen would receive 40 acres of land and a mule.  Read the Casper Rumple interview, in which he describes the reaction of former slaves when they heard the news.  Research the Special Field Order issued by General Sherman that gave rise to this rumor, as well as the arguments regarding land redistribution that were made when such a provision was included in the first Freedmen’s Bureau Act proposed in Congress. Would a grant of “40 acres and a mule” have produced positive or negative results?  Explain. What would be the arguments for and against such a policy? How is this historical question still reflected in issues being discussed today?

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