Date: December 2010
Creator: Ivan, Adrien D.
Description: This dissertation is a study of the effects of the abolition of slavery on the economic and political elite of six Texas counties between 1860 and 1890. It focuses on Austin, Brazoria, Colorado, Fort Bend, Matagorda, and Wharton Counties. These areas contain the overwhelming majority of Stephen F. Austin's "Old Three Hundred," the original American settlers of Texas. In addition to being the oldest settled region, these counties contained many of the wealthiest slaveholders within the state. This section of the state, along with the northeast along the Louisiana border, includes the highest concentration of Texas' antebellum plantations. This study asks two central questions. First, what were the effects of abolition on the fortunes of the planter class within these six counties? Did a new elite emerge as a result of the end of slavery, or, despite the liquidation of a substantial portion of their estates, did members of the former planter class sustain their economic dominance over the counties? Second, what were abolition's effects on the counties' prewar political elite, defined as the county judge? Who were in power before the war and who were in power after it? Did abolition contribute to a new kind of politician?
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