Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Jefferson's Freeholders and the Politics of Ownership in the Old Dominion

$26.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Studies on the American South

  • Date Published: June 2012
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781139369046

$ 26.00 USD
Adobe eBook Reader

You will be taken to for this purchase
Buy eBook Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, Hardback

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Jefferson's Freeholders and the Politics of Ownership in the Old Dominion explores the historical processes by which Virginia was transformed from a British colony into a Southern slave state. It focuses on changing conceptualizations of ownership and emphasizes the persistent influence of the English common law on Virginia's postcolonial political culture. The book explains how the traditional characteristics of land tenure became subverted by the dynamic contractual relations of a commercial economy and assesses the political consequences of the law reforms that were necessitated by these developments. Nineteenth-century reforms seeking to reconcile the common law with modern commercial practices embraced new democratic expressions about the economic and political power of labor, and thereby encouraged the idea that slavery was an essential element in sustaining republican government in Virginia. By the 1850s, the ownership of human property had replaced the ownership of land as the distinguishing basis for political power, with tragic consequences for the Old Dominion.

    • Describes the political transformation of citizenship from an agrarian republic to a modern slave-owning democracy
    • Explains the influence of the English common law on Thomas Jefferson's political thought
    • It is remarkably accessible and engaging for non-legal historians, despite its sustained treatment of highly specialized questions
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Curtis offers an erudite study of the legal basis of property ownership in Virginia between the American Revolution and the 1850s.' The Journal of American History

    'In his doggedly intelligent study of the legal culture of possession in late colonial and antebellum Virginia, Christopher Michael Curtis shows that the abundance of scholarship on Thomas Jefferson has a point beyond the hagiographic: Jefferson remains an important point of departure for understanding the early south.' Christopher Tomlins, Journal of Southern History

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2012
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781139369046
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: the tragedy of ownership
    Part I. Renovatio:
    2. Taking notice of an error
    3. The chosen people of God
    Part II. Reformatio:
    4. An invidious and anti-Republican test
    5. Can these be the sons of their fathers?
    6. Doubt seems to have arisen
    7. A new system of jurisprudence
    Part III. Conclusion: Reaction.

  • Author

    Christopher Michael Curtis, Claflin University, South Carolina
    Christopher Michael Curtis serves as the Department Head for the Department of History at Armstrong State University, Georgia. He is a former Marine Infantry Officer.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.