Crop lien system was inaugurated in phibìc Carolina in march 1867, once the basic Assembly happen an Act come Secure advancements for agricultural Purposes. Most former Confederate claims passed similar laws throughout this time. They were made crucial by a post-Civil war cash shortage amongst both landowning and also nonlandowning farmers, who discovered it difficult to purchase provisions for your families. Under the chop lien system, farmers could get fertilizer, agriculture equipment, groceries, and also other products by offering merchants a lien on their cash crops, the most preferable being cotton and also tobacco. By providing credit until crops were harvested, sellers were enabled to charge greater prices for such purchases-usually including a markup of 20 to 50 percent, however in some situations much higher. A rapid proliferation of nation stores throughout North Carolina and also the southern was the result.

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Abuses in the chop lien device reduced many tenant farmers to a state of economic slavery, together their debts to landlords and also merchants lugged over from one year come the next. Numerous landowners join the ranking of farm tenants when extreme indebtedness brought about foreclosure. An 1887 report the the state"s bureau of labor Statistics declared that the crop lien system had actually proven "a worse curse to phibìc Carolina 보다 droughts, floods, cyclones, storms, rust, caterpillars, and every various other evil that attends the farmer."

North Carolina leader of the farmers Union, which flourished from 1908 till the end of people War I, sought come abolish the crop lien system. Although ultimately not successful, they to be able to see a invoice go into result in 1918 making it unlawful for vendors to accept much more than 10 percent security above cash price when goods were purchase on time.

A rapid decrease in farm tenancy ~ 1940 carried a corresponding decline in the variety of crop liens, especially those signed over to supply-merchants. Landlords and also farm lending organizations still use plants as debt protection on a continuous basis, although under more stringent security legislation.


Hugh T. Lefler and also Albert beam Newsome, North Carolina: The background of a southerly State (1973).

Charles P. Loomis, "Activities of the phibìc Carolina Farmers" Union," NCHR 7 (October 1930).

Stuart Noblin, Leonidas LaFayette Polk: Agrarian Crusader (1949).

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Additional Resources:

The evils of the chop Lien System, LearnNC:

North Carolina general Assembly, Landlords Lien on plants for Rent, Advances, etc:

Image Credit:

Near Duck, NC, ca. 1939. From the Farrell photo Collection, PhC.9, phibìc Carolina State Archives, call #: PhC9_2_85_36, Raleigh, NC. Obtainable from (accessed September 10, 2012).