The transition from slavery to freedom in the post-Civil War American South featured the efforts of the Freedmen's Bureau (FB) to help ex-slaves overcome an extremely hostile, racist environment that included the need to articulate new labor relations structures given the demise of the plantation system, to overcome the limitations on equality legislated by the infamous Black Codes, to address the pressing need to educate masses of highly illiterate black children, and the need to provide protection for freedmen from unscrupulous landowners. This paper seeks to measure the degree to which accounting and those performing accounting functions for the FB were able to ameliorate these dire conditions that have caused Reconstruction to be perceived as one of the most negative epochs in the history of American democracy.

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