About This Conference

Tenth Annual Conference of the
Program in Early American Economy and Society

Library Company of Philadelphia,
1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA

Lorena Walsh's recently published study, Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit, traces the interdependencies of plantation development, slavery, and elite planter authority in the Chesapeake from the founding of Jamestown through the "golden age" of tobacco plantations and down to the final colonial years. Walsh deeply analyzes a great range of evidence, including the account books of over thirty planter families, and shows how these plantation entrepreneurs adapted to cultivating "the weed" in the face of rising bound servitude and slavery, wars, imperial goals for colonial development, shifting approaches to agriculture, and much more.

Walsh finds that what historians tend to conceptualize as one large Chesapeake region in fact contained many distinctive zones of cultivation and set the stage for widely varying personal responses to opportunities for power and profit. Decisions planters made about what to grow, how to grow it, how to use unfree labor, how to acquire land, how to respond to local and distant markets, and how to build powerful elite families varied remarkably from place to place within the Chesapeake.

This conference will feature a discussion of these themes from Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit. Three thirty-minute presentations will be made by scholars Trevor Burnard, Gloria Main, and John Coombs, followed by Lorena Walsh's response and what promises to be a lively audience discussion.

Papers by the three presenters will be available by early April 2011.

This conference is free and open to everyone interested in the topic. Please let us know if you will be attending by registering electronically.