Description: This study analyzes the impact of eighteenth-century commercialization on the evolution of the English and southern American landed classes with regard to three genteel leadership qualities--education, vocation, and personal characteristics. A simultaneous comparison provides a clearer view of how each adapted, or failed to adapt, to the social and economic change of the period. The analysis demonstrates that the English gentry did not lose a class struggle with the commercial ranks as much as they were overwhelmed by economic changes they could not understand. The southern landed class established an economy based on production of cash crops and thus adapted better to a commercial economy. The work addresses the development of class-consciousness in England and the origins of Virginia's landed class.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Nitcholas, Mark C.