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

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

by Roger G. Kennedy
     
 

Thomas Jefferson advocated a republic of small farmers -- free and independent yeomen. Yet as president he presided over a massive expansion of the slaveholding plantation system -- particularly with the Louisiana Purchase -- squeezing the yeomanry to the fringes and to less desirable farmland. Now Roger G. Kennedy conducts an eye-opening examination of that gap… See more details below

Overview

Thomas Jefferson advocated a republic of small farmers -- free and independent yeomen. Yet as president he presided over a massive expansion of the slaveholding plantation system -- particularly with the Louisiana Purchase -- squeezing the yeomanry to the fringes and to less desirable farmland. Now Roger G. Kennedy conducts an eye-opening examination of that gap between Jefferson's stated aspirations and what actually happened. Kennedy reveals how the Louisiana Purchase had a major impact on land use and the growth of slavery. He examines the great financial interests (such as the powerful land companies that speculated in new territories and the British textile interests) that carried the day against slavery's many opponents in the South itself (Native Americans, African Americans, Appalachian farmers, and conscientious opponents of slavery). He describes how slaveholders' cash crops (first tobacco, then cotton) sickened the soil and how the planters moved from one desolated tract to the next. Soon the dominant culture of the entire region -- from Maryland to Florida, from Carolina to Texas -- was that of owners and slaves producing staple crops for international markets. The earth itself was impoverished, in many places beyond redemption.

None of this, Kennedy argues, was inevitable. He focuses on the character, ideas, and ambitions of Thomas Jefferson to show how he and other Southerners struggled with the moral dilemmas presented by the presence of Indian farmers on land they coveted, by the enslavement of their workforce, by the betrayal of their stated hopes, and by the manifest damage being done to the earth itself. The pressures upon him, both psychological and economic, are detailed, as are the occasions on which decisions were made determining the future course of American history and the health of the land. Jefferson emerges as a tragic figure in a tragic period. As a former director of the National Park Service and before that of the National Museum of American History, Roger Kennedy has a rich background in history and environmental studies. In this superb volume, he weaves together environmental, political, economic, and intellectual history to paint a startlingly original portrait of the creation of the slaveholding South.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195176070
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/01/2004
Pages:
376
Sales rank:
1,162,982
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsxi
Chronologyxiii
Part 1The Land and Mr. Jefferson1
Chapter 15
Choices and Consequences
Rain in Virginia and Its Results Lessons for Yeomen
Pasteur, Wilson, and the Three Sisters Yeomen, Planters, and the Land
Cheap Land and Slave Labor
Chapter 2Washington, Jefferson, Three Worthies, and Plantation Migrancy Philosophers in the Parlor and Lessons on the Land Westward Sweeps the Course of Desolation The Gospel of Garland Harmon17
Chapter 326
The Way Not Taken
The Makers of a New Order
Jefferson's Epitaph Disestablishing the Grandees
The Brotherhood
The Unpropitiated Son Monticello Again
Jefferson and Democracy Jefferson and the Family Farmer
Chapter 443
Independence
A Dependent Arcadia
The Virtues of Diversification Commercial Squires and Ungovernable Governors Diversification, the Pursuit of Happiness, and Cities Eastward Toward Civility
The Thousand-Foot Line
Chapter 560
Powers of the Earth Land Companies, Trading Companies, and Triassic Capitalism The Great Land Companies and Revolution Jefferson and Western Speculation
Veterans' Benefits Armed Occupation
Armed Occupation Marches On
Chapter 673
Jefferson's Opportunities and the Land 1784
The Second Opportunity
The Trans-Appalachian West The Third Opportunity
The Lower Mississippi Valley Old Men's Dreams and the Memories of the Land
Part 2The Invisible Empire and the Land85
Chapter 787
Colonial-Imperialism
Colonies and Empires From Round Table to Board Table
Reinvesting the Loot Landed Gentry
Chapter 897
Textile Colonial-Imperialism
India Is Conquered by the Mechanics Solving the Problem of Supply
The Americans Are Put on Notice Hamilton, Jefferson, and Tench Coxe Respond to William Pitt Jefferson and the Cotton Business
Slaves as Cash Crop The Millers Send Out Their Salesmen
Independence? The British and the Plantocracy
Part 3Resistance to the Plantation System115
Chapter 9119
McGillivray
Mixed People and Mixed Motives
Indian Statehood McGillivray's Nationality
McGillivray and Washington
Chapter 10129
Resisters, Assisters, and Lost Causes Scots, Blacks, and Seminoles
The Firm
The Valences Shift William Augustus Bowles--The Second Act Bowles and Ellicott
"Execute Him on the Spot" The Fox Is Run to Earth
Chapter 11144
The Firm Steps Forward
Deerskins, Rum, and Land Indian Yeomen and Governor Sargent's Lost Cause
Yankee Yeomen
Chapter 12152
Jeffersonian Strategy and Jeffersonian Agents
Jefferson and Wilkinson Wilkinson's Clients
The Firm Adapts and Collects Wilkinson, Forbes, and Dearborn
Debt for Land The Accounts of Silas Dinsmoor
The Firm Wraps Things Up Andrew Jackson Takes Charge, with Some Help from Benjamin Hawkins
Part 4Agents of the Master Organism: Assistants to the Plantation System169
Chapter 13173
Fulwar Skipwith in Context
Skipwith the Jeffersonian Toussaint's Yeoman Republic
The Career of Fulwar Skipwith The Quasi War and Spoliation
James Monroe's First Mission to France Skipwith, the Livingstons, and Louisiana Cotton The Chancellor, Indolent Maroons, and Thomas Sumter Mister Sumter Is Shocked
The Third Article
Skipwith and the Floridas Consul Skipwith Goes to Jail
Chapter 14193
Destiny by Intention
The Adventures of George Mathews War, Commerce, and Race
Assisters and Resisters The Green Flag of Florida
Chapter 15205
Louisiana and Another Class of Virginians The Third Opportunity Reconsidered
The Hillhouse Debates
Chapter 16217
The Virginians of Louisiana Decide the Future of the Land Out of the Hills
The Kemper Outrage
1809-1810 Skipwith and Randolph
Complexities in Baton Rouge Skipwith at Bay
Haiti Again
Skipwith's Florida
Epilogue235
The Jeffersonian Legacy: The Civil War and the Homestead Act Statesmanship and Self-Deception
Final Thoughts The Economics of Land Use
Appendix245
Another Stream Jefferson, Madison, Adam Smith, and the Chesapeake Cities The Romans, Armed Occupation, and the Homestead Act Jefferson and the Ordinances of 1784 and 1787-89
Debt and Land Jefferson's Doctrine of Usufruct
Tribes, Land, and Ireland Creeks, Seminoles, and Numbers
The Livingstons and West Florida The Claiborne-Clark Duel
Fulwar Skipwith and Andrew Jackson
Notes262
Bibliographic Note307
Bibliography312
Index336

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >