40 Acres and a Mule

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CivilWarTalk

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40 Acres and a Mule

A term that describes a land reform plan supported by some Northern leaders after the Civil War to help freed slaves start a new life. Under this proposal, land of the big plantations would be divided up into 40 acre parcels, which would be given to freed slaves. A mule would be given as well to pull plows.

In a few areas, the plan was tried. But it never went forward as a general policy, mainly because the idea of simply taking plantation owners' land seemed wrong.

The failure to adopt some land reform plan is considered one of the great failures of the era, since it left most slaves without property.
 
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