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cotton field

North Carolina farmers grew many of the same crops after the Civil War, but new technology and economic pressures changed the ways they lived and worked. Photo by Martin LaBar.

After the Civil War, new technology began to transform American agriculture, while railroads and the growth of cities opened up new markets for cash crops. But farmers faced new economic pressures, and former slaves and many white farmers found themselves tenants or sharecroppers, facing endless cycles of debt. In this chapter, we’ll consider both improvements in agriculture and the difficulties farmers faced in the late nineteenth century.