Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Convict Lease System
The Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, while effectively ending slavery, eventually authorized the use of freed slaves for involuntary servitude with the following clause: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted , shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction” (italics added). Under the convict lease system implemented in the U.S. South after the Civil War, the state took advantage of this clause by leasing prison inmates to private companies that used them as forced laborers. This system of enforced labor ran from 1865 to 1920. This entry examines the convict lease system in the United States that emerged after the abolition of legal slavery. A brief history of the convict lease system is discussed, as is the social context surrounding its development. Scholars have suggested that after the passage of the ...