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A chain gang refers to a group of prisoners shackled at the waist and chained to one another that performs hard labor in full view of the public. Chain gangs were used during the 19th century as a form of punishment in parts of the world including England, France, Australia, and the United States. Chain gangs were first introduced in the United States during the Reconstruction period, which followed the end of the Civil War in 1864. Chain gangs were primarily used in southern states including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, where many prisons were overcrowded or had been destroyed during the Civil War. Chain gangs both cost less than standard imprisonment and provided cheap labor for ...

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