Forced founders: Indians, debtors, slaves, and the making of the American Revolution in Virginia

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Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture by the University of North Carolina Press, 1999 - Business & Economics - 231 pages
14 Reviews
In this provocative reinterpretation of one of the best-known events in American history, Woody Holton shows that when Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and other elite Virginians joined their peers from other colonies in declaring independence from Britain, they acted partly in response to grassroots rebellions against their own rule. The Virginia gentry's efforts to shape London's imperial policy were thwarted by British merchants and by a coalition of Indian nations. In 1774, elite Virginians suspended trade with Britain in order to pressure Parliament and, at the same time, to save restive Virginia debtors from a terrible recession. The boycott and the growing imperial conflict led to rebellions by enslaved Virginians, Indians, and tobacco farmers. By the spring of 1776 the gentry believed the only way to regain control of the common people was to take Virginia out of the British Empire. Forced Foundersuses the new social history to shed light on a classic political question: why did the owners of vast plantations, viewed by many of their contemporaries as aristocrats, start a revolution? As Holton's fast-paced narrative unfolds, the old story of patriot versus loyalist becomes decidedly more complex.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rsubber - LibraryThing

Holton offers a backstory to the drive by Virginia's elite political leaders to support rebellion against England and the Declaration of Independence. He argues that Indians, slaves, merchants and ... Read full review

Review: Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves & the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia

User Review  - Margaret Carmel - Goodreads

I was assigned this book for my American History class. I liked how it showed another perspective on the common story of the American Revolution. Lots of interesting stories and background information ... Read full review

Contents

Land Speculators versus Indians and the Privy Council
3
Tobacco Growers versus Merchants and Parliament
39
BOYCOTTS I769I774
75
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Abner Linwood "Woody" Holton, III, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Richmond in Virginia and is a member of the Richmond Research Institute. He has published two award-winning books: "Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution" (2007), a finalist for the National Book Award; and "Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia" (1999). Holton received his B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. in History from Duke, and is currently an associate professor at the University of Richmond. Holton has received numerous awards, including three from the Organization of American Historians (OAH). His first book, "Forced Founders "(in which he argued that Jefferson, Washington, and other Virginia gentlemen rebelled against Britain partly in order to regain control of Native Americans, slaves, and small farmers), received the OAH's prestigious Merle Curti award for social history. In 2006, the OAH named Holton one of its Distinguished Lecturers. Holton's article, "'Divide et Impera': The Tenth Federalist in a Wider Sphere," was selected by a panel of distinguished scholars for publication in the OAH's "Best American History Essays 2006". Holton received a Guggenheim Fellowship for the 2008-09 academic year to write ABIGAIL ADAMS and today lives in Richmond with his wife Gretchen Schoel (the director of an organization combating prejudice against Arabs and Muslims) and their daughter Beverly.

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