Until relatively recent times the historiography of the Reconstruction period in Florida could be summed up by Claude G. Bowers’ three-word paragraph, “Florida was putrid.” Legislatures full of swindlers, “railroad steals,” “shabby strangers,” and “old black mammies,” praising God and voting Republican, were all a part of the traditional image of this so-called dark era of United States history. Revisionist historians such as Howard K. Beale, David Donald, Kenneth Stampp, and Rembert W. Patrick have challenged this view. They describe the years after the Civil War as a progressive age for the South when civil, educational, and economic reforms brought the region closer to the mainstream of the rest of the nation than it had ever been. On the other hand, this new school contends that economic and social conditions on the local level had actually changed very little from what they had been before the war. The slaves had been technically freed by the thirteenth amendment, but in fact, the chains of slavery were replaced by the bonds of debt peonage.
Eckert, Edward K.
"Contract Labor in Florida during Reconstruction,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 47
, Article 7.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol47/iss1/7