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Riches, Real Estate, and Resistance: How Land Speculation, Debt, and Trade Monopolies Led to the American Revolution

ISBN: 978-1-118-97393-6
187 pages
September 2014
Riches, Real Estate, and Resistance: How Land Speculation, Debt, and Trade Monopolies Led to the American Revolution (1118973933) cover image

Description

Was the American Revolution fought to achieve abstract ideals of individual freedom or to serve economic interests?   “Both!” is the answer provided by Prof. Thomas D. Curtis in this intriguing study.  He shows how British policy, particularly as it related to the speculation in lands on the western frontier (in the Appalachias and the Ohio Valley), had the unintended effect of uniting diverse interests into a force for rebellion.  The leaders included heavily indebted southern landowners (including George Washington), northern urban land speculators (including Benjamin Franklin), and wealthy northern merchants who feared, after 1773, that England would impose trade monopolies that would bankrupt them.  Artisans, shopkeepers, and small-scale farmers were influenced by combinations of economic and ideological motives.  Small-scale land-oriented interests consisted of the settlers who wanted cheap land for farming in the western frontier areas, but who were denied legal title to the Indian lands by British law.
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Table of Contents

Editor’s Introduction: Updating the Curtis Thesis 1

Riches, Real Estate, and Resistance: How Land Speculation, Debt, and Trade Monopolies Led to the American Revolution — Thomas D. 30

Introduction 31

Chapter I. The Economic and Political Background 33

Chapter II. Economic Interest Groups and Western Land Speculation 54

Chapter III. England’s Colonial Land Policies, 1763 – 1767 84

Chapter IV. England’s Colonial Land Policies, 1768 – 1774 99

Chapter V. An Alliance of Interests Opposed to English Rule 124

Chapter VI. Summary and Conclusion 150

References 161

Appendix A: Proclamation of 1763 168

Appendix B: The Quebec Act of 1774 175

Index 183

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