Virginia's way to the American Revolution
Woody Holton. Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.
In his book Forced Founders Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia Woody Holton tries to give a "
study of some (not all) of the causes (not the effects) of Virginia's Revolution." He argues that the Virginia elite were important as leaders of the Independence movement, but were also powerfully influenced by other forces such as British merchants, Indians, farmers and slaves. Woody Holton argues that the Virginia gentry was influenced by those four groups, and that the gentry was even forced by the groups to react in certain ways at times. His most powerful argument is that the elites feared social disorder and losing their position in the elite. This book represents an interesting view on the gentry of Virginia and his arguments are easy to follow. He provides the reader with a large amount of examples which makes it very easy to relate the broader historic discussion to singular events. Holton also tries to give a profile of the diverse society in Virginia during the pre-revolution years. Since the average inhabitant of Virginia was not able to write diaries or letters, Holton had to use the manuscripts of the elite; but he "
did not find using gentry sources to study nongentleman as difficult as he [I] had feared." He was able to form a solid picture of both gentry and non gentry Americans of this time and their political positions. The first chapter of Forced Founders is focused on the Indians in the Ohio Valley, the other Southern tribes, and the land speculators. Some tribes formed alliances and agreed not to sell anymore land. Since the British feared an Indian uprising, the Indians were able to negotiate with the British, and therefore convinced them to stop the settlement of the Ohio Valley. The...
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