A Classification of American Wealth
History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America - Sponsors

 Part 1 : Colonial and Mercantile America  Part 2 : America in the Gilded Age
 Part 3 : America in the Twentieth Century  Encyclopedia of American Wealth

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  Part I-Chapter 2 : Planter  Aristocrats  > Index and Introduction  :   Previous  1 - 2  Next

    A Southern aristocracy of planters  

           The settlement of Virginia and emergence of a planter aristocracy
           The first American revolution : Nathaniel Bacon's rebellion

 Slavery - boon and bane of the Antebellum South
              (the evil recipe for success of America's Southern plantation aristocracy) 

              The Carters of Corotoman  -  richest dynasty of Virginia
              Carter Family Profile (from the Encyclopedia of American Wealth)

              The Randolph family : Plantation owners,  Virginia Burgesses 
              and American Statesmen

              Plantation owners and Presidents of the United States of America
George Washington
     Thomas Jefferson

             The Harrisons of "Berkeley One Hundred" (coming later)

             The Lee family of Virginia : 

The Stratford Branch - American Patriots  
     The Leesylvania Branch - Soldiers of the Old South

             Other dynasties of planters and politicians
                      The Hairstons of Virginia, North Carolina and Mississippi
                      (family profile from the Encyclopedia of American Wealth)
     The Langhornes - A First family of Virginia

Jamestown, Virginia was the first permanent English settlement on the new continent, established 1607 for the Virginia Company by Christopher Newport and John Smith. In 1619, a House of Burgesses was elected, the first representative assembly in the New World, as if to announce the spirit of democracy that would once characterize America. Also at about that time, the first black laborers were brought to Jamestown by Dutch merchants, the prelude of more than two centuries of slavery that would make plantation owners rich and end in a bitter civil war. 

Whereas the Dutch settlers of New York and the pilgrims of New England had to fight adversity of climate and rough wilderness, the settlements of Virginia and the Carolinas, blessed with the milder climate of the South and conditions favorable to agriculture, developed faster and with more ease, after an initial troubled period of struggles with the Indians.

Virginia soon emerged as the most successful and populated colony, reaching 538'000 in 1780, the most populated of the original 13 states. Likewise North Carolina was 3rd with 270'000 people and also South Carolina was important with its 180'000 people. Of the original 13 states, the five including Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Maryland, which made up the South, accounted for almost half of the population of the United States of America. For its loyalty to the Union during Civil War, Maryland would later be considered part of the North East but its original development led by English aristocrats, was much similar to the other Southern states.

Termed the "Cavalier" colonies, the Southern states allowed enterprising pioneers to accumulate wealth through land ownership, based on land grants and the settlement policies of the English Crown. Although nowhere as large in size as the New York manors, the plantations of Virginia and the Carolinas allowed their owners fast wealth accumulation and the easy lifestyles of country squires. Much like the manor lords of New York, the Southern planters played an essential role in colonial politics and were likewise active in the Independence movement.

Planter  Aristocrats  > Index and Introduction  :   Previous  1 - 2  Next

Patroons and Manor Lords

Planter  Aristocrats

Shipping Merchants

The Landlords of New YorkCity

Bankers I

Early American Industrialists


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