From British Peasants to Colonial American Farmers / Edition 1

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Overview

With this book, Allan Kulikoff offers a sweeping new interpretation of the origins and development of the small farm economy in Britain's mainland American colonies. Examining the lives of farmers and their families, he tells the story of immigration to the colonies, traces patterns of settlement, analyzes the growth of markets, and assesses the impact of the Revolution on small farm society.

Beginning with the dispossession of the peasantry in early modern England, Kulikoff follows the immigrants across the Atlantic to explore how they reacted to a hostile new environment and its Indian inhabitants. He discusses how colonists secured land, built farms, and bequeathed those farms to their children. Emphasizing commodity markets in early America, Kulikoff shows that without British demand for the colonists' crops, settlement could not have begun at all. Most important, he explores the destruction caused during the American Revolution, showing how the war thrust farmers into subsistence production and how they only gradually regained their prewar prosperity.

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Editorial Reviews

Reviews in American History
[This book] evidences Kulikoff's mastery of the scholarship on farm life and land use across four centuries and on two continents. The result is a work of awesome scope.
William and Mary Quarterly
[This book] lays the ground for an understanding of the centrality of independent farm households in the Revolutionary and early national periods.
Choice
An extraordinary book, rich in detail and deep in analysis. . . . [with] an exquisite prologue.
Elizabeth Fox-Genovese
This is an important book, with the inestimable value of being a useful book. In an arresting and original conceptualization, Allan Kulikoff focuses upon the farm household as both the characteristic unit of settlement and the fondest aspiration of settlers throughout the American colonies.
Booknews
A reinterpretation of the origins and development of the small-farm economy in Britain's American colonies after agrarian capitalism began to eject peasants from European land in the 16th and 17th centuries. At first, immigrants merely wanted to work the soil, writes Kulikoff (history, Northern Illinois U.). But then, seeing unimproved land spreading out endlessly before them, they came to expect to own it. Kulikoff traces patterns of settlement, analyzes the growth of markets<-->without British demand for the colonists' crops, settlement couldn't have happened<-->and assesses the disastrous impact of the American Revolution on small-farm society. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
[This book] evidences Kulikoff's mastery of the scholarship on farm life and land use across four centuries and on two continents. The result is a work of awesome scope. (Reviews in American History)

[This book] lays the ground for an understanding of the centrality of independent farm households in the Revolutionary and early national periods. (William and Mary Quarterly)

An extraordinary book, rich in detail and deep in analysis. . . . [with] an exquisite prologue. (Choice)

In an arresting and original conceptualization, Allan Kulikoff focuses upon the farm household as both the characteristic unit of settlement and the fondest aspiration of settlers throughout the American colonies. (Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Emory University)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807848821
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 11/13/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.27 (d)

Meet the Author

Allan Kulikoff is professor of history at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. His previous books include Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800.

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