Agents of empire: entrepreneurship and the transformation of Virginia, 1688-1750

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ian M. Michie (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Phyllis Hunter

Abstract: This study examines the economic culture of Virginia from the end of the seventeenth century to the middle of the eighteenth. The study employs five individuals who operated in an entrepreneurial capacity as case studies to reveal the complexity of the business climate in Virginia. Using these individuals as examples I argue that an entrepreneurial mindset influenced the growth of transatlantic commerce in Virginia. At the same time entrepreneurial activity aided in the solidification of anglicized institutions in the colonies, allowing for deepening assertions of empire in the Chesapeake and backcountry regions. However, the transition was never an organized progression but, rather, a complicated web of endeavors relying on legitimate and illegitimate business networks and practices. The case studies represented in this work demonstrate the types of business activities undertaken by settlers and planters as they tested the exploitable resources and the imperial authority of the colony. It also focuses on a place and time where the growth of plantation slavery influenced motivations and actions of colonists. The work adds to previous histories of Virginia, Atlantic, and economic history by offering analysis of the social environment and cultural motivations of the period though the examination of business-motivated individuals. These individuals were integral parts of a larger culture of empire that asserted its power into North America in the eighteenth century.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Atlantic, Backcountry, Chesapeake, Colonialism, Entrepreneurship, Virginia
Virginia $x History $y Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
Virginia $x Economic conditions $y 17th century
Virginia $x Economic conditions $y 18th century
Entrepreneurship $x Economic aspects $z Virginia $x History

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