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Accommodating revolutions: Virginia's Northern Neck in an by Albert H. Tillson Jr.

By Albert H. Tillson Jr.

Accommodating Revolutions addresses an issue of lengthy status between historians of eighteenth-century the US and Virginia -- the level to which inner clash and/or consensus characterised the society of the progressive period. particularly, it emphasizes the complicated and sometimes self-defeating activities and judgements of dissidents and different non-elite teams. by way of concentrating on a small yet major quarter, Tillson elucidates the a number of and interrelated resources of clash that beset progressive Virginia, but additionally explains why finally so little changed.In the Northern Neck -- the six-county element of Virginia's Tidewater mendacity among the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers -- Tillson scrutinizes a filthy rich and robust, yet stricken, planter elite, which incorporated such well known males as George Washington, Richard Henry Lee, Landon Carter, and Robert Carter. during the overdue eighteenth and early 19th centuries, the Northern Neck gentry faced not just contradictions in cultural beliefs and behavioral styles inside their very own lives, but additionally the persistent hostility in their poorer white acquaintances, coming up from a various array of neighborhood fiscal and political concerns. those insecurities have been extra intensified by way of adjustments within the method of African American slavery and via the becoming function of Scottish retailers and their Virginia brokers within the advertising of Chesapeake tobacco. For a time, the upheavals surrounding the warfare for American Independence and the approximately contemporaneous upward thrust of shiny, biracial evangelical spiritual routine threatened to extend well known discontent to the purpose of overwhelming the gentry's political authority and cultural hegemony. yet finally, the prevailing order survived basically intact. partially, this was once as the region's leaders came upon how you can restrict and accommodate threatening advancements and styles of switch, principally by using conventional social and political appeals that had served them good for many years. but partially it used to be additionally simply because usual Northern Neckers -- together with many leaders within the hobbies of wartime and spiritual dissidence -- consciously or unconsciously accommodated themselves to either the styles of monetary switch remodeling their international and to the normal beliefs of the elite, and therefore have been not able to articulate or settle for another imaginative and prescient for the way forward for the area.

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58 Given these high ideals and deep suspicions, few Northern Neck leaders could escape an awareness of the political shortcomings of their peers and themselves. Writing in the 1770s, Landon Carter recollected that in a legislative election of 1735 he had collaborated with four other leaders to win the seat. As the group arranged it, Carter and another man ran for election. ” The next year, Carter’s son and Francis Lightfoot Lee were elected by vigorously courting public favor. ” 60 As will be discussed in chapters 5 and 7, the political changes of the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary years would encourage still more concessions to the popu lar will and still more unease among the Northern Neck gentry.

As early as the 1730s, planters and their overseers discussed the buying and selling of corn at fluctuating market prices, largely for local consumption. The growing demand for food in the Caribbean and southern Europe encouraged expanded production, and by the late 1760s one Westmoreland County neighborhood contained at least twenty-three mills. 84 In some cases, purchasers sought competing bids from different prospective suppliers. 86 In operating his large-scale “merchant” flour mill and bakery during the 1770s and 1780s, Robert Carter showed a particularly sophisticated understanding and acceptance of the marketplace.

In 1774, he engaged William Carr, a Dumfries merchant, to purchase about two thousand bushels. In some cases Carter empowered his agents to pay the market rate; often he allowed them the further incentive of promising to pay all sellers at the highest rate he paid that year. He also tried to give the sellers as much responsibility as possible for transporting their grain to him, and he encouraged them to provide precise information on delivery dates. 87 Carter aggressively pursued new markets for his flour and bread.

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