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Stone Collection: Volume 78 - Item 50
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Alfred H. Stone Collection
Volume: 78

50. Walter L. Fleming, “’Forty Acres and a Mule,’” North American Review 182 (May 1906): 721-37.

History of the false hope among freedmen that they would be given land and farming implements by the federal government after the war was over. The author traces the origin of this expectation to the two Confiscation Acts that were passed by Congress in 1861 and 1862. He then traces the career of this belief after the war when it was used by dishonest politicians to manipulate the black vote. Finally, according to the author, con artists traveled throughout the South after Reconstruction with fake papers purportedly awarding these claims, which they would process for unsuspecting freedmen for a small “attorney’s fee.”