Desperate situations need desperate remedies. A drowning man catches the straw or another downing man, to save one’s life. Virginia’s great Tidewater planters figure so prominently in the movement for independence, not because they wished or planned to take on the leadership, but because they were pushed to do so, by the compulsion of circumstances. Revolution happens like an avalanche. So sudden, yet it is not so. Strong pre-conditions, intolerable social situations, utter loss of liberty and individual dignity, economic compulsions etc.
are some of the key factors that contribute to the eruption of social anger, which is generally termed as Revolution. An individual visualizes many beneficial, drastic changes upon the happening of the Revolution. One sees a new hope for oneself and for the Nation. The American Revolution…. In the backdrop of such grim circumstances, the American Revolution had to take place according to Breen. The tobacco planter’s culture had its peculiarities. Personal honor dominated over the economic factors.
The modus operandi of the business tilted the scale heavily in favor of the British merchants, and the tobacco planters remained in the clutches of those interest-monger merchants. Cultivation and the resultant profits were not up to expectations. The enthusiastic response of the Virginia Planters and their embracing the Revolutionary cause was their desperate attempt to break the shackles of oppression. The private and public distress had to find a strong outlet. Other contributing factors, both political and economic made the Revolution happen.
Tobacco planting cycle was demanding, trans-Atlantic shipping risks were involved in this trade, their English Agents were unreasonably assertive and patriotic leaders emerged in the political scene of America, like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington etc. They were fired by the ideals of independence, revolution and to whom the welfare of the American people was supreme. The agrarian experience began to take shape as political protest. The American elite supported the war, for they had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
By the end of the 18th century, they lived on credit, having borrowed everything against their tobacco crop. They desperately wished to come out of this debt trap. How difficult it might have been for them do so—the comparable situation in this modern materialistic world is the one who is caught in the web of loan and interest repayments, relating to borrowings from multinational banks for vehicles, mortgages, housing loans etc. and the rues are so regulated to doom an unsuspecting professional or a small business man. The seeds of Revolution….
The English settlers arrived in Jamestown in 1607, and since then, Breen explains, how tobacco became the mission and commission of the life of both the grower and the purchaser. The Englishmen, the instinctive businessmen, saw great prospectus in tobacco. Soon, tobacco was the flagship export product. The tobacco-fraternity became economically influential, socially recognized, and politically noticeable. Tobacco was the freely accepted barter-crop. Tobacco certificates were issued as for the stock and after evaluation of the crop prospectus.
Tobacco became such an all-pervading commodity in the lives of the people, it replaced money in most of the transactions like debt-settlement, payment of wages to soldiers, government officials and clergymen. Servants were purchased against tobacco. The trade began to flourish fast, several small towns took the shape of busy commercial centers…but soon, the tobacco trade was in for a shock. The rules of economics and trade began to assert their strength. With over-production, the prices of the tobacco began to fall. The Act of 1730 was passed to protect the interest of the cultivators and the traders.