Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Smith, Lee Davis URN etd-07012004-091858 Title A Settlement of Great Consequence: The Development of the Natchez District, 1763-1860 Degree Master of Arts (M.A.) Department History Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Tiwanna M. Simpson Committee Chair Rodger M. Payne Committee Member William J. Cooper, Jr. Committee Member Keywords
- American Revolution
- West Florida
Date of Defense 2004-06-22 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis study examines events, conditions, and circumstances that influenced the
development of the Natchez District of West Florida from its acquisition by Great Britain in
1763 until the eve of the Civil War. The strong relationships between West Florida and the
“original thirteen” colonies created a dynamic area of Revolutionary and antebellum era growth
in West Florida, and particularly in the Natchez District.
Eighteenth century westward migration of seaboard colonists exerted pressure on native
Americans. At the same time, colonists felt pressure from the presence of British troops
remaining in America following the French and Indian War. Colonial officials recognized the
need to disperse the population in order to ease tensions while still keeping colonists close
enough to prevent them from feeling truly independent of England. West Florida provided a
safety valve to mitigate these pressures.
The exceptional quality of the land and climate in the Natchez District promoted
settlement and resulted in a successful agricultural economy based on a slave labor system.
When the main agricultural focus shifted to cotton after 1790, the plantation system built on
previous tobacco culture was already in place. Beginning about 1795, cotton production drove
the economy of the Natchez District and created a class of planter elite at least as affluent and
progressive as those in more established colonies farther north.
Until approximately 1830 Protestantism vied with the civil religion of land, slaves, and
cotton for primacy in the Natchez District. After that, evangelicals and the planter elite moved
closer to agreement on issues of slavery and wealth. Evangelicals, the planter elite, and slaves
approached religion in their own ways, both secular and traditional, and adhered to systems of
worship that corresponded to their own particular needs.
By the eve of the Civil War the combination of these factors created a dynamic
agricultural area with a cosmopolitan feel, yet firmly entrenched in the Bible Belt.
Filename Size Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds)
28.8 Modem 56K Modem ISDN (64 Kb) ISDN (128 Kb) Higher-speed Access Smith_thesis.pdf 633.29 Kb 00:02:55 00:01:30 00:01:19 00:00:39 00:00:03