Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The “Founding Fathers,” patriots and more….

Book review:
Holton, Woody. Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves & the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.
231 pages

Holton is a neo-progressive who offers a backstory to the drive by Virginia's elite political leaders to support the Declaration of Independence and rebellion against England. He argues that Indians, slaves, merchants and small farmers, each in their own sphere, exerted influence on Washington, Jefferson and other Virginia leaders that helped to motivate their advocacy for independence.

There’s plenty of rich detail as he explores the obvious and not-so-obvious relationships of these interest groups. Holton describes the not wholly successful effort of the powerful landowners (in many cases, they were also land speculators) to achieve and expand their control of the factors of production: land, capital and labor.

Holton, Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, is at his most persuasive when he details circumstances in which the interests of the elites were more or less congruent with the interests of the generally disenfranchised, but nevertheless potent, subordinate classes who occupied their colonial world.

Forced Founders supports and enlarges our understanding that the so-called Founding Fathers were not a monolithic group motivated simply by patriotic fervor for independence.

Some other thoughts:

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014 All rights reserved.

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