Summary Of Forced Founders By Woody Holton

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Woody Holton illustrates in his book, Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia, how minority groups had a powerful impact on the Revolutionary cause . He claims that these non-elite groups “helped propel free Virginians into the Independence movement,” specifically from 1763 to 1776 (Holton xviii). In other words, Holton emphasizes how minority groups with less power, such as “Indians, merchants, slaves, and debtors,” affected the majority groups (xvii, xviii). These non-elites ultimately helped to spread the Revolutionary cause within Virginia. Throughout his text, Holton explains three ways this influence operated. Firstly, Holton claims that efforts to change imperial policy by free Virginians were countered by “Native Americans, British merchants, … enslaved Virginians” and other groups (xviii). Such contradiction separated Virginians from their British alliance and eventually lead them to the Revolution. Holton provides support when he explains how courts closed and refused to try cases brought by creditors against debtors in 1774. The courts closed “partly to protest Parliament’s assault on American Liberty and partly to prevent creditors from depriving debtors … of their property and freedom” (xv). In this example, the non-elite group (debtors) created enough influence …show more content…

Evidence of this is apparent when Holton explains that “tobacco growers large and small owed huge debts to British merchants” partially due to Navigation Acts (xix). Thus, when the British tried to impose taxes, Virginians created nonimportation agreements to reduce debts and retaliate. These economic actions empowered large and small groups to band together in support of the Revolutionary

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