• Forced Founders

  • Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia
  • By: Woody Holton
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 7 hrs
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this provocative reinterpretation of one of the best-known events in American history, Woody Holton shows that when Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and other elite Virginians joined their peers from other colonies in declaring independence from Britain, they acted partly in response to grassroots rebellions against their own rule.  

The Virginia gentry's efforts to shape London's imperial policy were thwarted by British merchants and by a coalition of Indian nations. In 1774, elite Virginians suspended trade with Britain in order to pressure Parliament and, at the same time, to save restive Virginia debtors from a terrible recession. The boycott and the growing imperial conflict led to rebellions by enslaved Virginians, Indians, and tobacco farmers. By the spring of 1776, the gentry believed the only way to regain control of the common people was to take Virginia out of the British Empire.  

Forced Founders uses the new social history to shed light on a classic political question: Why did the owners of vast plantations, viewed by many of their contemporaries as aristocrats, start a revolution? As Holton's fast-paced narrative unfolds, the old story of patriot versus loyalist becomes decidedly more complex.

©1999 The University of North Carolina Press (P)2019 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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A great book.

I have Woody Holton's books and require my high school students to read passages from them. This is on of my favorites and well worth your time.

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Not super original

Holton's work argues that the founding fathers were forced to take revolutionary action by Indians, Debtors, and enslaved peoples. The topic of the American Revolution has been done so many times and viewed through many lenses that his argument just seems obvious and rather un-shocking. --the narrator had a great voice though for this audiobook.