By Albert H. Tillson Jr.
Accommodating Revolutions addresses an argument of lengthy status between historians of eighteenth-century the United States and Virginia -- the level to which inner clash and/or consensus characterised the society of the innovative period. particularly, it emphasizes the complicated and sometimes self-defeating activities and judgements of dissidents and different non-elite teams. via 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 finally so little changed.In the Northern Neck -- the six-county component of Virginia's Tidewater mendacity among the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers -- Tillson scrutinizes a filthy rich and strong, yet afflicted, planter elite, which incorporated such famous 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 in addition the persistent hostility in their poorer white pals, bobbing up from a various array of neighborhood monetary 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 turning out to be position of Scottish retailers and their Virginia brokers within the advertising of Chesapeake tobacco. For a time, the upheavals surrounding the conflict for American Independence and the approximately contemporaneous upward push of brilliant, biracial evangelical non secular pursuits threatened to extend well known discontent to the purpose of overwhelming the gentry's political authority and cultural hegemony. yet in any case, the prevailing order survived primarily intact. partly, this was once as the region's leaders stumbled on how you can restrict and accommodate threatening advancements and styles of switch, principally by utilizing conventional social and political appeals that had served them good for many years. but partially it was once additionally simply because traditional Northern Neckers -- together with many leaders within the hobbies of wartime and spiritual dissidence -- consciously or unconsciously accommodated themselves to either the styles of financial switch remodeling their international and to the conventional beliefs of the elite, and hence have been not able to articulate or settle for an alternate imaginative and prescient for the way forward for the zone.
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Extra resources for Accommodating revolutions: Virginia's Northern Neck in an Era of Transformations, 1760-1810
Although these statements were obviously self-serving, planters urged that bonds of friendship should induce merchant correspondents to continue their lines of credit. ” The letter, he claimed, had deeply wounded his “delicate” feelings. Philip Ludwell Lee may not have been sincere in a letter of 1770 to his merchant brother, William, in London, but he clearly wrote within the parameters of prevailing gentry ideals. ” 71 When they felt that individual merchants were departing from these patterns of friendly relations, and when they discussed merchants as a class, Northern Neck planters readily condemned the greed and deception they saw as predominant in the commercial world.
Variations in prices from one neighborhood to another suggest this. 90 Perhaps more important than the actual amount of local consumption was the perception of grain marketing as dominated by local transactions. 91 Presumably, since neighbors often knew one another well and dealt with one another repeatedly, it was harder for Northern Neck planters to develop the levels of suspicion and resentment they could experience in connection with the far-flung tobacco trade. Nevertheless, in the exchange of grain and other local goods and ser vices, Northern Neck planters showed a less than complete acceptance of the market ethic.
66 The discrepancy between his principles and his actions became particularly embarrassing to Lee during the Stamp Act controversy. With this legislation, the British Parliament attempted to collect revenue in the colonies by requiring that stamps be purchased and placed on legal documents and a wide variety of other paper products. As Lee later recounted it, when he fi rst heard of the impending legislation, in November 1764, he immediately and without reflection sent several letters to England seeking appointment as the distributor of the stamps in Virginia, a position that was expected to be very lucrative.