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Agrarian Class-Structure And Economic Development In Colonial-British North America: The Place Of The American Revolution In The Origins Of US-Capitalism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter first examines both the commercialisation-staples and demographic-frontier models in light of the actual development of different forms of rural social labour on the North-American mainland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This historical interrogation of both models highlights their limited explanatory power. The chapter then discusses agrarian social-property relations and economic development in British-colonial North America, examining how the structures of plantation-slavery in the southern colonies and independent household-production in the northern colonies shaped the trajectory of these regional economies. Finally, it examines the processes of class-struggle and 'state-building' during and after the American Revolution and their regionally uneven impact on agrarian class-relations. This specification allows us to analyse how the outcome of rural class-conflict in the 1780s and 1790s reshaped rural class-structure in the North, but preserved agrarian class-relations in the South.

Keywords: agrarian class-relations; American Revolution; British-colonial North America; economic development



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