Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause: Land, Farmers, Slavery, and the Louisiana Purchase

By Roger G. Kennedy | Go to book overview

PART TWO
The Invisible Empire and the Land

Part Two is about economic dependence and independence among the citizens of the United States in the years between 1776 and 1826, and between those citizens as a whole and the international economic and political system. Domestically, dependence upon international markets for staple goods brought forth from the Southern planters a desire to sustain the subservience of their workforce. That had been true before 1776, when they had been largely dependent upon British markets and financing, and it became true again after 1783, and especially after the mechanization of cotton ginning in the 1790s. Their dependence and their demand for subservience had direct and terrible consequences for the land.

Following this story requires an expansion of view from domestic concerns to the larger international scene, following the widening of perspective on the part of the Founding Fathers as they met in Philadelphia in 1776. They were guided toward that breadth of vision by their most cosmopolitan members, especially Thomas Jefferson, whose final draft of the Declaration of Independence justified their revolution to an international audience on both political and economic grounds. Jefferson's language was of immediate interest to all colonial peoples, and he meant it to be so. The adversary against which he pitted his countrymen was not King George III taken alone but a colonial system which had become unbearable. That system had a history well known to Jefferson and his colleagues but, because of the rupture with Britain caused by them, not so intimately a part of the furniture of acquaintance with which we surround ourselves today.

The British had themselves been colonials, producers of crops to be manufactured by others, priced by others, and whose production was somewhat dependent upon being financed by others even in the Middle Ages. They had

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Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause: Land, Farmers, Slavery, and the Louisiana Purchase
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chronology xiii
  • Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause *
  • Part One - The Land and Mr. Jefferson 1
  • 1 - Choices and Consequences 5
  • 2 - Washington, Jefferson, Three Worthies,and Plantation Migrancy 17
  • 3 - The Way Not Taken 26
  • 4 - Independence 43
  • 5 - Powers of the Earth 60
  • 6 - Jefferson's Opportunities and the Land 73
  • Part Two - The Invisible Empire and the Land 85
  • 7 - Colonial-Imperialism 87
  • 8 - Textile Colonial-Imperialism 97
  • Part Three - Resistance to the Plantation System 115
  • 9 - McGillivray 119
  • 10 - Resisters, Assisters, and Lost Causes 129
  • 11 - The Firm Steps Forward 144
  • 12 - Jeffersonian Strategy and Jeffersonian Agents 152
  • Part Four - Agents of the Master Organism: Assistants to the Plantation System 169
  • 13 - Fulwar Skipwith in Context 173
  • 14 - Destiny by Intention 193
  • 15 - Louisiana and Another Class of Virginians 205
  • 16 - The Virginians of Louisiana Decide the Future of the Land 217
  • Epilogue 235
  • Appendix 245
  • Notes 262
  • Bibliographic Note 307
  • Bibliography 312
  • Index 336
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