By Albert H. Tillson Jr.
Accommodating Revolutions addresses an issue of lengthy status between historians of eighteenth-century the USA and Virginia -- the level to which inner clash and/or consensus characterised the society of the innovative period. specifically, it emphasizes the advanced and infrequently self-defeating activities and judgements of dissidents and different non-elite teams. by means of concentrating on a small yet major zone, Tillson elucidates the a number of and interrelated assets of clash that beset progressive Virginia, but additionally explains why after all so little changed.In the Northern Neck -- the six-county component to Virginia's Tidewater mendacity among the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers -- Tillson scrutinizes a filthy rich and strong, yet stricken, planter elite, which integrated such popular males as George Washington, Richard Henry Lee, Landon Carter, and Robert Carter. through the overdue eighteenth and early 19th centuries, the Northern Neck gentry faced not just contradictions in cultural beliefs and behavioral styles inside of their very own lives, but in addition the continual hostility in their poorer white pals, bobbing up from a various array of neighborhood fiscal and political concerns. those insecurities have been additional intensified by means of adjustments within the approach of African American slavery and by means of the becoming function of Scottish retailers and their Virginia brokers within the advertising and marketing of Chesapeake tobacco. For a time, the upheavals surrounding the struggle for American Independence and the approximately contemporaneous upward push of brilliant, biracial evangelical non secular events threatened to extend renowned discontent to the purpose of overwhelming the gentry's political authority and cultural hegemony. yet after all, the prevailing order survived primarily intact. partly, this used to be as the region's leaders stumbled on how one can restrict and accommodate threatening advancements and styles of swap, mostly by utilizing conventional social and political appeals that had served them good for many years. but partly it was once additionally simply because usual Northern Neckers -- together with many leaders within the activities 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 an alternate imaginative and prescient for the way forward for the area.
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Additional info for Accommodating revolutions: Virginia's Northern Neck in an Era of Transformations, 1760-1810
For their part, advocates of the new location claimed that they had inspected the most central site and found it physically inadequate. 63 The career of Richard Henry Lee illustrates with par ticu lar clarity the confl icts between political ideals and conduct among the Northern Neck gentry. Th roughout his life, Lee repeatedly voiced the suspicions of excessive power as a threat to liberty, which typified the country, or commonwealth, tradition in English political discourse. In provincial politics, he was among the leading critics of the influence gained by John Robinson through his positions as assembly speaker and colonial treasurer, and through the improper loans of public funds which he made to many leading Virginia planters.
Horse racing, for example, had long been popu lar throughout the Chesapeake. 29 By the mid-eighteenth century the sport was becoming more formalized and Anglicized. 30 Races frequently took place at Leedstown, Falmouth, the Richmond court house, and elsewhere, often drawing sizable crowds. On some occasions, owners of horses and other property advertised in advance that they would be sold at specific races. 32 Instead, they turned to the English-style circular track and followed stricter rules that mirrored metropolitan patterns of conduct.
More importantly, Fitzhugh actually owned the plantation on which Grymes lived and had granted him the right of lifetime tenure there. 93 Such transactions, of course, need not have taken the form of gifts. Slaves, small farmers, and others often sold fish, poultry, or fresh produce. Even large planters participated in this trade. On at least two occasions, William Fitzhugh sent much of his nephew’s “presents” on to be sold in town after reserving some things for his own household. 94 In these exchanges, as elsewhere in their economic lives, the Northern Neck gentry could fi nd the boundary between friendship and commerce uncertain and sometimes uncomfortable.
Accommodating revolutions: Virginia's Northern Neck in an Era of Transformations, 1760-1810 by Albert H. Tillson Jr.