This paper documents the persistence of Southern slave owners in political power after the American Civil War. Using data from Texas, we show that former slave owners made up more than half of all state legislators until the late 1890s. Legislators with slave-owning backgrounds were more likely to be Democrats and voted more conservatively even conditional on party membership. A county’s propensity to elect former slave owners was positively correlated with cotton production, but negatively with Reconstruction-era progress of blacks. Counties that elected more slave owners also displayed worse educational outcomes for blacks in the early twentieth century.
Read the full story here.