Making an Atlantic North Carolina : Scottish networks in the eighteenth century
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This thesis examines the transatlantic networks of Scottish families who settled in North Carolina in the eighteenth century. Traditional historiography has characterized early North Carolina as an isolated and underdeveloped colony. By the eve of the American Revolution, however, the province experienced dynamic demographic and economic growth. This thesis argues that the networks built and maintained by Scots in North Carolina spurred this development and situated the colony into an Atlantic world. A disproportionate number of Scots entered the elite and professional classes of North Carolina during the eighteenth century, influencing colonial society, politics, economy and culture. Over the course of the eighteenth century, Scots employed their “intimate” networks based on kinship, obligation, and trust to both seek out and offer patronage, advice, and support during the migration process. These transatlantic networks were strengthened by familiar correspondence, which helped maintain a sense of intimacy among kin despite the vast distances between individuals. As Scots settled in North Carolina, they drew on these transatlantic networks repeatedly. They sought to elaborate kin connections locally by strategically weaving their families into the burgeoning colonial society and solidifying the elite through wealth and political power. Family connections also bled into Scottish professional networks based on shared Scottishness, trust, and reciprocity to ensure the economic development of North Carolina’s port towns and backcountry while encouraging overseas trade. As the American Revolution broke out in the 1770s, the extensive networks of Scots became both a liability and a source of aid. Loyalist Scots relied heavily on their intimate networks around the Atlantic in mitigating the effects of dislocation—underlining the extent and strength of their transatlantic connections in times of conflict. This thesis reimagines North Carolina as an Atlantic colony that found its position in the world through the connections of its Scottish inhabitants.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2023-10-31
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 31st October 2023
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