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The long shadow of slavery: the persistence of slave owners in southern lawmaking

Bellani, Luna, Hager, Anselm and Maurer, Stephan E. ORCID: 0000-0003-2446-8575 (2022) The long shadow of slavery: the persistence of slave owners in southern lawmaking. Journal of Economic History, 82 (1). 250 - 283. ISSN 0022-0507

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0022050721000590


This paper documents the persistence of Southern slave owners in political power after the American Civil War. Using data from Texas, we show that former slave owners made up more than half of all state legislators until the late 1890s. Legislators with slave-owning backgrounds were more likely to be Democrats and voted more conservatively even conditional on party membership. A county's propensity to elect former slave owners was positively correlated with cotton production, but negatively with Reconstruction-era progress of blacks. Counties that elected more slave owners also displayed worse educational outcomes for blacks in the early twentieth century.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: E History America > E151 United States (General)
J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N31 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
N - Economic History > N4 - Government, War, Law, and Regulation > N41 - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2022 15:21
Last Modified: 17 May 2024 01:33

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