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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  Chronicles of American Wealth / Nr 12 / July 4, 2003 

<<  List of chronicles   

Content :
1 - The first American Revolution : Nathaniel Bacon’s rebellion in 1676
2 - New historical list : “Virginia’s Wealthy One Hundred (1782)” inspired by Jackson Turner Main (part 1 : 50 names)

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The first American Revolution : Nathaniel Bacon’s rebellion in 1676

July 4, 1776 : “Independence Day”

The day fifty six representatives from thirteen English colonies in North America signed their Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia marked the birth of a great new nation : the United States of America. Although we celebrate it every year, it is difficult to imagine the profound joy our founding fathers must have felt on that memorable day. They were finally free of the rule of their autocratic mother country, which had bound them under restrictive navigation acts and extorted ever increasing taxes for so long. Free in a prosperous land with unlimited resources. Of course they would have to defend their new freedom in a bitter independence war first, but in their hearts and minds, they were free.

A hundred years earlier in Virginia, another group of men achieved a similar status. When Nathaniel Bacon “the Younger” and his men seized tiny Jamestown and forced the autocratic English governor ‘Sir’ William Berkeley to grant them a commission to chase marauding Indians, they committed the first revolutionary strike in English North America. Compared to our founding fathers’, the vindications of Bacon’s rebels were trivial. All they wanted was to force decision regarding the delicate Indian issue. But they defied the Crown’s authority and actually deposed the royal governor. In the process, a freed elected assembly, the Virginia House of Burgesses passed legislation to abolish the privileges of the governor’s coterie. In as much, Nathaniel Bacon’s rebellion was indeed the first American revolution.

It failed despite consistent military victories by the seasoned Indian fighters against often larger troops of Loyalists and ended in brutal repression by the reinstated governor, after Nathaniel Bacon’s death on October 26, 1676. The rebellion did not alter the power of the nascent aristocracy of large plantation owners, favored by William Berkeley, but it produced the seeds which eventually led to the memorable event a full century later.

Read more about Nathaniel Bacon’s rebellion and the emergence of an aristocracy of wealthy plantation owners in nascent Virginia at “A Classification of American Wealth” [New Update of Chapter 2].

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Another historical list : Virginia’s Wealthy One Hundred (1782)
inspired by Jackson Turner Main

In our Encyclopedia of American Wealth we have the pleasure to publish yet another historical list of wealthy American in the past. This is the list of Virginia’s one hundred wealthiest plantation owners around the time of the American Revolution. Based on tax records of 1782, historian Jackson Turner Main made such a list of 100 names in 1954. We kept only the names as a guideline and researched similar tax records of 1790 and 1800, as well as other sources to compile a similar list. As such research is quite time consuming, only 50 names are included for the time being. The remainder will follow soon in an update.

Browse through the 1782 list inspired by Jackson Turner Main and compare it to our other updated lists (1775 and 1800) of wealthy American individuals or families to analyze the financial tissue of America’s elite at “Encyclopedia of American Wealth”.

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