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T. H. Breen's study of this tobacco culture focuses on how elite planters gave meaning to existence. He examines the value-laden relationships -- found in both the fields and marketplaces -- that led from tobacco to politics, from agrarian experience to political protest, and finally to a break with the political and economic system that they believed threatened both personal independence and honor.
A rich history into the lives of the great tobacco planters of colonial Virginia.
"T. H. Breen's important new book attempts to explain why the great Virginia Planters embraced the Revolutionary cause with so much enthusiasm. He argues that growing indebtedness to British merchants after 1750 jeopardized the planters' traditional dominance, finally precipitating 'a major cultural crisis' in the years immediately preceding Independence. Breen's major contribution is to delineate the 'mentality' of the great planters of the period when private and public distress converged. . . . It is a superb contribution to the literature of the American Revolution."—Peter S. Onuf, William and Mary Quarterly
|List of Illustrations|
|Preface to the Second Paperback Edition|
|I||An Agrarian Context for Radical Ideas||3|
|III||Planters and Merchants: A Kind of Friendship||84|
|IV||Loss of Independence||124|
|V||Politicizing the Discourse: Tobacco, Debt and the Coming of Revolution||160|
|Epilogue: A New Beginning||204|