Date of Award
College of Liberal Arts
Type of Degree
Historians have long been perplexed by Virginia's dependency on tobacco in the seventeenth century. Despite continual efforts by both the Virginia and British governments, the small planters in the colony continued to overproduce tobacco, seemingly to their own detriment. This thesis argues that the failures of economic diversification are best understood when the advantages of tobacco are broken down into natural, artificial, and monetary factors. Tobacco enjoyed many natural advantages of alternative crops, and these advantages were buttressed by artificial advantages created by legislation that either directly or indirectly incentivized tobacco production. The most prominent of these are the legal tender laws for tobacco which, due to the compulsory acceptance stipulation and fixed exchange rates, created a distorted credit system in the economy that made tobacco production benefit small planters at the expense of the large planters.
Tobacco -- Virginia -- History.
Tobacco industry -- Virginia -- History.
Calton, Christopher, "Smoke and Silver: Money, Credit, and the Failure of Economic Diversification in the Seventeenth Century Virgina" (2017). Theses, Dissertations and Capstones. 1072.