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Radical Protest and Social Structure

The Southern Farmers’ Alliance and Cotton Tenancy, 1880-1890

"Michael Schwartz’s book is really three books in one—an analysis of the structural changes that produced one of the most oppressive social systems the world has known (the one-crop cotton tenancy economy and the system of institutionalized racism and authoritarian one-party politics that was required to preserve the fragile economic arrangement); a theoretical analysis of the origins, mobilization, and outcome of insurgent challenges; and a meticulous application of that theory to the rise and collapse of the Populist movement."—Craig Jenkins, Theory and Society

309 pages | 6.00 x 9.00 | © 1976

History: American History

Sociology: Social Change, Social Movements, Political Sociology

Table of Contents

1. Tenancy, Southern Politics, and the Spiral of Agrarian Protest
I. The One-Crop Cotton Tenancy System
2. Basic Tenancy Relationships
The Basic Tenant—Landlord Relationship
The Merchant and the Crop Lien
3. The Tenancy System
The System of Supply an Credit
The System of Marketing
4. The Dynamics of Change in Southern Farm Tenancy
The Landlord and the Merchant
Yeoman and Tenant
From Tenant to Laborer
5. Cotton Tenancy, Farmer Immiseration, and the Reemergence of the Planter Aristocracy
Cotton Domination of Southern Agriculture
Farmer Insolvency and the True Extent of Tenancy
The "New" Landlord Class
II. An Organizational History of the Southern Farmers’ Alliance
6. Growth and Merger
Early Growth and Merger
The Farmers’ Associations
The Merger of the Alliance and the Wheel
Organizational History, Organizational Structure, Social Class, and Oligarchy
7. Structure and Structural Tension within the Alliance
Alliance Organization
The Social Origins of Leadership and Membership
Newspapers and the Leadership—Membership Contradiction
Financing the Alliance
The Farmers’ Alliance and the Southern Tenant
Farming System
III. Theoretical Considerations
8. Defining the Farmer’s Alliance
9. The Parameters of Organizational Behavior
Rationality and Irrationality
The Role of the Social Structure in the Behavior of Social Movements
Structured Ignorance
10. The Determinants of Organized Protest—Part 2
The Structural Position of the Organization’s Membership in the Structure to Be Challenged
The Prevailing Analysis of the Situation
The Previous Actions and Their Outcomes
12. The Life of Protest Organizations
The Birth and Death of Protest
IV. The Process of Alliance Protest
13. Local Economic Action and the Process of Escalation
14. The Alliance Exchange: The Ultimate Counterinstitution
15. The Great Jute Boycott
16. The Farmers’ Alliance in and around Richmond County, North Carolina
Co-op Buying in Mountain Creek
The Alliance Enters North Carolina
Local Actions and Merchant Counterattack
The Struggle for the Alliance Exchange
The Jute Boycott
The Entry into Politics
17. The Logic of the Shift into Politics
18. The Legacy of Populism Defeated
Subject Index

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