One Kind of Freedom




One Kind of Freedom was published in 1977 by
          Cambridge University Press



In the summer of 1968 Richard Sutch and I circulated the first in a series of papers issued by the Southern Economic History Project at the University California, Berkeley, titled “The Rise of Sharecropping in the American South: 1865-1900 – A Preliminary Report.”  At the end of the paper we wrote:

 The purpose of this paper has been rather modest. We have attempted to relate the pattern of events leading from the emancipation of the Negro to the establishment of a system of tenant farming and merchant banking which characterized the South for nearly a century.  At the same time we have tried to identify the basic economic forces at work in this transformation.

We could hardly have guessed in 1968 that our project, which culminated in the publication of One Kind of Freedom in 1977, would have such a long-lasting impact on the way scholars viewed the postbellum American South. Elsewhere in this website, the interested reader can find many of the articles, working papers, and presentations that comprise the a body of work that spans four decades of research by Ransom and Sutch.

Peter Colcanis on the impact of One Kind of Freedom

Few works in southern economic history have achieved the level of respect and renown enjoyed by Roger Ransom and Richard Sutch's path-breaking 1977 book One Kind of Freedom: The Economic Consequences of Emancipation (or 1Kf as it came to be called). If any single work can be said to have transformed an entire field in history, this is it. Whether one points to the 1978 symposium on One Kind of Freedom held at Duke University, the special issue of Explorations in Economic History devoted to the book in 1979, the high-decibel graduate-student "buzz" surrounding the book, or the broad diffusion of terms and concepts associated with Ransom and Sutch--"lock-in" mechanisms and "territorial monopoly," most notably -- 1Kf is virtually unique. That the book was the subject of another major conference in September 1999, twenty-two years after the fact, testifies further to this point.

Cited from: “In Retrospect: Ransom and Sutch's One Kind of Freedom”
Reviews in American History - Volume 28, Number 3, September 2000, pp. 478-489
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