Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The American Farmer in the Eighteenth CenturyA Social and Cultural History$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Richard Lyman Bushman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300226737

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300226737.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 22 May 2022

Founding Farmers

Founding Farmers

The Contradictions of the Planter Class

(p.193) 11. Founding Farmers
The American Farmer in the Eighteenth Century

Richard Lyman Bushman

Yale University Press

The ancestors of Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson began their sojourns in America at approximately the same level. The Jeffersons subsequently rose to the heights of wealth and culture while the Lincolns remained in the middle. The reason was that southern planters not only enjoyed the benefits of a slave workforce, they lived under a government that entrusted gentlemen to develop unworked land. Those who gained a place among the gentry received huge grants on the supposition that they would open the land and provide a shelter for smaller planters. Peter Jefferson was one beneficiary of this practice, receiving grants in what became Albemarle County, lands that were inherited by his sons. Jefferson practiced rational agriculture. He corresponded with Arthur Young and read books by English reformers. He fertilized his land and planted clover. And yet Jefferson was bankrupt at his death. He was defeated by the contradictions of the planter class. The necessity of living as a gentleman in order to enjoy the benefits of that standing made it impossible for Jefferson to curtail his standard of living and pay off his debts.

Keywords:   Class, Rational agriculture, Slavery, Debt, Planters

Yale Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.