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The Port Royal ExperimentA Case Study in Development$
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Kevin Dougherty

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781628461534

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2016

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628461534.001.0001

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Economic Development and Land Redistribution

Economic Development and Land Redistribution

(p.104) Chapter Seven Economic Development and Land Redistribution
The Port Royal Experiment

Kevin Dougherty

University Press of Mississippi

The Port Royal Experiment pursued economic development in terms of three fronts identified by Edward Pierce as “what could be done to reorganize the laborers, prepare them to become sober and self-supporting citizens, and secure the successful culture of a cotton-crop.” Integral to Pierce’s objective to “reorganize the laborers” was the issue of land distribution. Efforts to produce “sober and self-supporting citizens” would proceed in accordance with the free-labor ideology. Finally, the prized Sea Island cotton, either as a source of revenue for a cash-strapped Lincoln Administration, as a means of funding the development effort, or as a source of personal profit, lay at the center of all economic decisions. Thus, economic development on the Sea Islands involved the timeless considerations of control of the area’s principal natural resource, the individual and his pursuit of happiness, and a state directed land policy.

Keywords:   Edward Pierce, Land redistribution, Economic development, Free-labor ideology, Sea Island cotton

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