The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

The Price of Things

Who were the “hucksters”?

The term was already around in 1861, but its use became much more frequent during the war. In the North, a huckster or a shyster was a person who squeezed profit out of people who might, on a good day, be able to afford it. In the South, a huckster was viewed about the same as an enemy. Whoever they were—most of their names have not survived—the hucksters attempted to corner the market on a certain commodity, sugar for example, and drive the price sky-high.


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