- Sharecropping - "I'll be damned if I give my n***ers any part of my farm."
- The fear of white Southerners that African-Americans were "forgetting their place" - "They're putting on enough airs as it is, without making them land-holders."
- The post-war labor crisis - "Someone's got to work our land..."
- The 13th Amendment - "...and the n***ers are done being slaves."
- The fact that most southern wealth had been invested in slaves before the War and now all that money is gone - "I've got no cash to pay wages, so I got to parcel out shares."
[Note - Id like to point out that at this point, we are a grand total of 41 seconds into this scene.]
- Military occupation of the South during Reconstruction - "He's talking sense, boys. There's going to be a Circuit Judge through here regular and the Army's here to back him up."
- The birth of white supremacist groups - "We ought to band together and string a few of them up, just to set an example for the rest."
- Changes in military technology - "I come out [of the War] with a Yankee Minié ball in my knee and I come out plus a limp I'll have all my natural days."
- How sharecropping stacked the deck against the recently freed African-Americans - "And somehow, he never manages to catch up on the cost! Ain't that right, Senator?"
- The agricultural economy of the South - "It doesn't matter who works the land; what matters is who owns it. Property is power; it always has been and it always will be."
Roots comes in for a lot of criticism, and certainly it has its flaws, but for clearly demonstrating a LOT of historical themes in a very efficient and gripping way, it is the best tool in my box.