Ransom and Sutch’s “One Kind of Freedom” is acknowledged as a ground-breaking work in the economic history of the United States of America. In this revolutionary book, the authors have been successful in appropriately applying theory and quantitative methods of Economics to the financial repercussions of Emancipation. If the truth is told, One Kind of Freedom is one of the most exceptional books that present a concrete examination of the economic associations and organizations that substituted slavery. Moreover, the book also scrutinizes the unique conditions that allowed former slaves to participate in the economic sector of the country after the end of the Civil War.
According to the authors, the book is directly inspired from the times during which it was written. However, the readers can actually understand, comprehend, and relate the issues’ selection with the economic scenario of the current times. It also offers exceptional microeconomic investigation of labor relations before the War. This book was surely an incredible read as I learned a lot of things concerning the covered issues. It made me understand how the discussed ‘form of freedom’ granted to Blacks in America allowed them to work for the economic welfare in a substantially enhanced manner. However, this kind of liberty also considerably reduced the advancement of Black Americans in a number of areas. In particular, a ‘controlled’ form of freedom resulted in the retardation of economic development of Blacks in the South. Emancipation was accompanied by intentional withdrawal of black labor. The labor supply changes resulted in a number of negative repercussions including “the decline in per capita output, the decline in land values and mule prices, the reduction of acreage planted in crops, and the decline in work stock employed in agriculture” (Ransom & Sutch 51).
Ransom and Sutch have provided a distinctive description and interpretation of the downfall and failure of the centralized agricultural estate as an executive structure. Furthermore, they have explained the substitution of plantation by sharecropping in an excellent manner. The book mostly focuses on the racial behaviors that led to economic inequality as well as the overall greediness of rural merchants who made landowners their allies as an effective tact to keep tenant farmers and croppers indebted. In short, this outstanding work enjoys a significant position in explaining the economic history of the South. Even though this book was published in 1977, readers can learn about the recent trends in Economics by paying particular attention to the details provided by the authors. It would not be incorrect to state that both the authors have conducted comprehensive and impressive research in the mentioned field making it an extremely informative and innovative read for history lovers.
Ransom, Roger L., and Richard Sutch. One Kind of Freedom: The Economic Consequences of Emancipation. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1977. Print.