The Southern economy during during Reconstruction was in very bad shape because of the Civil War. The war had had many negative effects on the Southern economy. Farms and plantations were in disarray and often ruin. Some had been burned to the ground. Many of the railroad tracks (and there weren't many to start with) had been destroyed. Many towns were in ruin. There was also the question of how would the South be rebuilt? Many former slaves were hoping to obtain some of the land they had been forced to work on without pay, and make their living off of small farms. However, many of the white plantation owners were hoping to bring back a system very similar to slavery in which African Americans would continue to work for them for very little pay.