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Louisiana which was favored with some of the most fertile soil in the world was characterized during the 1850’s outside of New Orleans, by almost complete rurality although there were a large number of village and small towns in the state. Rural Louisiana was peopled by more Negroes than whites la 1850, and by the end of the decade, the Negro proportion of the rural population had Increased.

In general, ante-bellum Louisiana was regarded as the home of great planters, but the majority of the agriculturists were neither planters nor slaveholders, and many were not landowners. Some of the non-landowners were hired laborers who played a more important role in the rural economy than is generally recognized, but the majority of rural Louisianians, landowners and non-landowners, were agriculturists who dwelled on the less desirable soil of the state for the more fertile land was in the hands of the planter-class.

By the opening of the 1850s, the common people of Louisiana, agriculturists and hired laborers, small slaveholders and non-slaveholders, land holders and non-landowners, were faced with diminishing social and -economic opportunities, for by that time their ability to purchase good land slaves curtailed by the rapidly advancing princess of those two requisites of ante-bellum social and economic advancement.

All rural Louisianians were confronted with floods, fires, and fevers, and in most instances their efforts against these dreaded scourges were rewarded with little success. If these problems were not enough, the residents of the interior portions of the state were forced to rely on what at best can be termed grossly inadequate systems of transportation and communication. Furthermore, many of the people of ante-bellum Louisiana had no satisfactory means of obtaining capital or credit, both of which were vital to successful commercial agriculture.

Although white manhood suffrage had been extended in 1845, until the civil war, the reins of government were held by a political alliance of New Orleans merchants and Black Belt planters. The lack of true democracy on the state level hindered the development of an adequate public education system-as well as the adoption of other measures favored by many of the plain citizens.

The villages of ante-bellum Louisiana were primarily trade centers, but they were also important as centers of religion, education, communication recreation, and justice; and village life was much the same throughout the state. In general, the villagers all dreaded, desired, and enjoyed the same things.

Contrary to common belief, the common people of ante-bellum Louisiana were not content in their inferior social, economic, and political positions, and there was some friction among the classes. The reason that there was so little overt class conflict was not due solely to race prejudice but was due to lack of democracy, education, and adequate systems of transportation, and communication.