08 February 2007
Reconstruction & Railroads
One of the primary complaints by "redeemers" in the Reconstruction South concerned the use of state aid for rail lines. After all, the aid was heavy and put states into a great deal of debt. Debt which mightily burdened states during economic downturns. However, I've discovered that Reconstruction era southern governments were merely engaged in policies that were in many ways simply a continuation of antebellum practices. See James W. Ely, jr. Railroads and American Law, pgs. 31-32, 66-69.