Another option for newly freed slaves was sharecropping, where they paid the landowner to use the land with part of the harvest. These 1871 treaties in Florida and South Carolina were concluded between plantation owners such as the Winthrop family and Thomas Green Clemson (founders of Clemson University) and several black tenants. They show the variety of ways in which landowners made deals with black workers. One of the contracts specifies the amount of land to be rented and the method of payment, while the other is vague. Both contracts use complex legal language, and the black workers who signed them re-signed them with an «X,» suggesting they couldn`t read. In addition, their names are written in the same script as the contract. Sharecropping spread to the South in response to the economic upheavals caused by the end of slavery during and after reconstruction.   Sharecropping was a way for poor farmers, white and black, to live off land owned by someone else. The landowner provided land, housing, tools and seeds, and possibly a mule, and a local merchant provided food and supplies on credit.
At harvest time, the tenant received a share of the harvest (from a third to half, with the landowner taking care of the rest). The harvest aid used its share to pay its debts to the merchant.  In the United States, «tenant» farmers owned their own mules and equipment, [when?] and «tenants» did not. Thus, tenants were poorer and had a lower status. Sharecropping was widespread in Scotland, Ireland, and colonial Africa, and was widely used in the southern United States during the Reconstruction period (1865-1877). The South had been devastated by the war – the planters had a lot of land, but little money for wages or taxes. At the same time, most former slaves could do work, but had no money or land – they rejected the kind of gang labor that characterized slavery. One solution was the partial rental system, which focused on cotton, which was the only crop capable of generating money for harvesters, landowners, traders and the tax collector. Poor white farmers, who previously grew little cotton, also needed money and became tenants.  As a symbol of their regained independence, the freed mule teams dragged their former slave huts from the slave quarters into their own fields. Wives and daughters significantly reduced their work in the fields and instead spent more time cleaning and caring for children. But the system of partial leaseholds also contributed to the fact that the economy of the South became almost entirely dependent on a single crop – cotton – and that an increasing number of Southerners, white and black, were reduced to rented agriculture and worked as workers on land they did not own.
Although the sharecropping system was primarily a post-Civil War development, it existed in Antebellum`s Mississippi, particularly in the northeastern part of the state, an area with few slaves or plantations, and most likely existed in Tennessee.  Sharecropping, along with rented agriculture, was a dominant form in southern cotton from the 1870s to the 1950s, among blacks and whites. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a variety of different situations and types of chords that have used some form of system. Some are subject to tradition, others to the law. The Italian Mezzadria, the French Métayage, the Spanish Mediero, the Slavic Połowcy, the издoльщина and the Islamic system of the Muzara`a are examples of legal systems that supported partial leases. The Office of Freedmen, which was established to help millions of former slaves in the post-war period, had to inform the liberated that they could either sign employment contracts with planters or be expelled from the lands they had occupied. Those who refused or resisted were eventually expelled by army troops. The last article is a 1911 «diary» from R.
F. Van Brunt`s general store in the Lake Iamonia community outside Tallahassee. Included are two sharecropping contracts found in another ledger from 1911. Together, they document changes in sharecropping after reconstruction as well as local practices. Sharecropping contracts are printed with gaps that need to be filled, meaning they have been standardized over time. The newspaper includes the name of a contract tenant in its entries, including financial balances and purchased property. The newspaper also proves that local tenants could buy items on credit and pay their balance «with cotton» or other forms of work such as «hanging out.» The paragraph mentions that when landowners learned about indigo production, they demanded compensation from farmers. Sharecropping is a system where the landlord/planter allows a tenant to use the land in exchange for a share of the harvest. This encouraged tenants to work to get the largest possible harvest and ensured that they remained attached to the land and probably did not leave for other occasions.
In the South, after the civil war, many black families leased land to white landowners and cultivated cash crops such as cotton, tobacco and rice. In many cases, nearby landlords or dealers rented equipment from tenants and offered seeds, fertilizers, food, and other items on credit until harvest time. At harvest time, the harvester harvested the entire harvest and sold it to the merchant who had granted a loan. Purchases and the owner`s share were deducted and the harvester kept the difference – or added his debts. It also gave tenants a personal interest in the land and encouraged hard work and care. However, U.S. plantations were wary of this interest, believing that it would lead African Americans to claim partnership rights. Many black workers denied the unilateral authority that landowners hoped to gain, further complicating the relationship between landowners and tenants.  Cooperative agriculture comes in many forms around the world.
Various agreements can be reached through collective bargaining or purchasing to get the best deals on seeds, supplies and equipment. For example, members of a farmers` cooperative who cannot afford to pay for their own heavy equipment can rent it to the co-op for a small fee. Farmers` cooperatives can also enable groups of smallholder farmers and dairy farmers to manage prices and avoid undercutting by competitors. In the early 1930s, there were 5.5 million white renters, tenants, and mixed fishers in the United States; and 3 million blacks.   In Tennessee, whites made up two-thirds or more of the tenants.  In Mississippi, in 1900, 36% of all white farmers were renters or renters, while 85% of black farmers were renters.  In Georgia, fewer than 16,000 farms were run by black owners in 1910, while African Americans simultaneously managed 106,738 farms as tenants.  In the colonies of colonial Africa, the partial lease was a feature of agricultural life […].