The southern aristocracy and the revolutionary war / by kevin murray

Beginning in 1776, the thirteen colonies banded together to fight for the independence of America, yet, it has always seemed somewhat contradictory that the southern aristocracy would participate on the rebel side in such a war, as that aristocracy appeared to have a lot more in common with the British nobility, in the sense that the southern aristocracy, for the most part, generated their wealth from the land that they owned, by virtue of their tenant farmers, as well as upon the sweat labor of slaves, as opposed to actually personally being industrious, themselves.  So too, British nobility, maintained their status through the ownership and the productivity of their lands, done through the rental of such lands, the produce created, and through their exploitation of tenant farmers.


However, there were two distinct factors that encouraged the southern aristocracy to recognize that their future was probably more secure with the rebels; of which, the first was that the southern aristocracy had no voice or representation in regards to taxation specifically addressed against them, so that, this was always a clear and present danger as to their being able to maintain their position, wealth, prosperity, and property.  Additionally, the rebels made it quite clear to those that were loyalists that in the event, that the rebellion succeeded, which it did, than all lands own by loyalists, were subject to being confiscated by the new American nation, of which, the price of being on the wrong side of history, would be very heavy, indeed.


This then meant that for the most part, that the southern aristocracy supported the revolutionary war, and provided the rebels with men, materials, and knowhow to help conduct such a war, subject to having to also maintain enough domestic manpower presence in order to sustain control and dominion over their slaves, which was an asset that such aristocracy could not and would not desire to jeopardize.


So too, the southern aristocracy, recognized that the victory in this war, would create a vacuum in regards to governance, politics, and power, of which, because they were the richest and most influential people within their community, in an era in which democracy as we know it did not exist in colonial America, then such aristocracy would revel in the opportunity to replace those that were in governance with either themselves, their associates, or sympathetic parties to their position, which essentially is what occurred.


As it has been said, war makes strange bedfellows, so then while the southern aristocracy appeared to have a lot in common with the British nobility, they weren't actually British nobility, thereby making their decision to take their chances with their fellow colonists, a much more straightforward decision.  Yet, this southern aristocracy came to be at loggerheads with the northern industrialists, to an extent large enough, that despite a Constitution; the southern plantation system felt seriously threatened, especially considering that to a large extent, they appeared outmaneuvered and outplayed by the industrial north, creating a momentous rife between north and south, and in particular, between the southern aristocracy and the well heeled and well bankrolled industrialists, leading to our inevitable civil war.