Planter-legislators of the post-Civil War southern
United States enacted crop lien laws stipulating that
those who advanced cash or supplies necessary to
plant a crop would receive, as security, a claim, or lien,
on the crop produced. In doing so, planters, most of
whom were former slaveholders, sought access to
credit from merchants and control over nominally free
laborers—former slaves freed by the victory of the
northern Union over the southern Confederacy in the
United States Civil War. They hoped to reassure
merchants that despite the emancipation of the slaves,
planters would produce crops and pay debts. Planters
planned to use their supply credit to control their
workers, former slaves who were without money to
rent land or buy supplies. Planters imagined
continuation of the pre-Civil War economic hierarchy:
merchants supplying landlords, landlords supplying
laborers, and laborers producing crops from which
their scant wages and planters' profits would come,
allowing planters to repay advances. Lien laws
frequently had unintended consequences, however,
thwarting the planter fantasy of mastery without
slavery. The newly freed workers, seeking to become
self-employed tenant farmers rather than wage
laborers, made direct arrangements with merchants
for supplies. Lien laws, the centerpiece of a system
designed to create a dependent labor force, became
the means for workers, with alternative means of
supply advances, to escape that dependence.
52. Which of the following best expresses the central
idea of the passage?
(A) Planters in the post-Civil War southern United
States sought to reinstate the institution of
(B) Through their decisions regarding supply credit,
merchants controlled post-Civil War agriculture.
(C) Lien laws helped to defeat the purpose for which
they were originally created.
(D) Although slavery had ended, the economic
hierarchy changed little in the post-Civil War
southern United States.
(E) Newly freed workers enacted lien laws to hasten
the downfall of the plantation economy.
53. According to the passage, each of the following
was a reason planters supported crop lien laws
(A) Planters believed that lien laws would allow them
to expand their landholdings.
(B) Planters expected that lien laws would give them
control over former slaves.
(C) Planters anticipated that lien laws would help them
retain access to merchant credit.
(D) Planters intended to use lien laws to create a
dependent labor force.
(E) Planters saw lien laws as a way to maintain their
traditional economic status.
54. The passage suggests which of the following
about merchants in the post-Civil War southern
(A) They sought to preserve pre-Civil War social
(B) Their numbers in the legislatures had been
(C) Their businesses had suffered from a loss of
(D) They were willing to make business arrangements
with former slaves.
(E) Their profits had declined because planters
defaulted on debts for supply advances.
Answers after some discussion.
Edit: Topic moved to proper forum