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Jefferson's Freeholders explores the ancient techniques wherein Virginia was once remodeled from a British colony right into a Southern slave kingdom. It makes a speciality of altering conceptualizations of possession and emphasizes the continual impression of the English universal legislation on Virginia's postcolonial political tradition. The ebook explains how the normal features of land tenure grew to become subverted by way of the dynamic contractual family members of a advertisement economic system and assesses the political effects of the legislations reforms that have been necessitated via those advancements. Nineteenth-century reforms looking to reconcile the typical legislation with sleek advertisement practices embraced new democratic expressions concerning the financial and political energy of work, and thereby inspired the concept that slavery was once an important point in maintaining republican executive in Virginia. by way of the 1850s, the possession of human estate had changed the possession of land because the distinguishing foundation for political strength with tragic effects for the previous Dominion.

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Abbreviations AH EPLP GMP GWP JSH LHR LOV PDVSC RV SAL SLM TB TJP UVA VHS VMHB WMQ Agricultural background Papers of Edmund Pendleton Papers of George Mason Papers of George Washington magazine of Southern heritage legislation and heritage evaluate Library of Virginia lawsuits and Debates of the Virginia country conference of 1829–1830 progressive Virginia: A Documentary heritage Hening, Statutes-At-Large Southern Literary Messenger Tucker’s Blackstone Papers of Thomas Jefferson Alderman Library, collage of Virginia Virginia old Society Virginia journal of historical past and Biography William & Mary Quarterly xiii Introduction The Tragedy of possession Addressing an viewers of neighborhood electorate, James Philemon Holcombe warned that each one the harbingers “of an excellent renowned revolution” have been in proof. He defined that “recent occasions” had conspired to persuade even “the so much ­unbelieving among us” of the chance to “our constitutional rights” within the Union. His caution unquestionably resonated with the group coming, because it did, an insignificant month after John Brown were hung for trying to spark a slave revolt at Harper’s Ferry. however, they could were stunned to listen to this jeremiad being introduced no longer by means of a few aspiring demagogue yet via an aloof, bespectacled legislations professor who was once top recognized for learning the imprecise rules of fairness jurisprudence. even perhaps extra difficult to the group, even if, was once Holcombe’s clarification as to the resource of this drawing close revolution. He stated the valid anxiousness attributable to Brown’s raid yet guaranteed his listeners that it have been simply suppressed and that peace have been lawfully restored. extra daunting than this abolitionist layout to ­ferment slave uprising, he insisted, used to be the foreboding “spectacle” of the free-soil-inspired Republican social gathering greedy “possession of the govt.” with its declared goal of utilizing its strength “to advertise their pursuits on the rate of ours. ”1 The pursuits to which Professor Holcombe referred have been the non-public possession rights to property – specifically the best to possess slaves. For him, the upstart Republicans represented a “purely Northern occasion” dedicated to undermining the integrity of the connection among grasp and slave – the elemental dating on which Virginia’s social order and democratic govt have been grounded. He with ease asserted to the sympathetic crowd that the paternalist virtues present in the master-slave relation sustained the adored rules 1 James Philemon Holcombe, The Election of a Black Republican President an Overt Act of Aggression at the correct of estate in Slaves: The South instructed to undertake Concerted motion for destiny security: A Speech ahead of the folks of Albemarle at the second Day of January, 1860 (Richmond: 1860), 1–3. E. Lee Shepherd, “James Philemon Holcombe” in criminal schooling in Virginia: A Biographical process, edited by way of W. Hamilton Bryson (Charlottesville: collage Press of Virginia, 1982): 291–295.

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