Catalogue


Dominion of memories : Jefferson, Madison, and the decline of Virginia /
Susan Dunn.
imprint
New York : Basic Books, c2007.
description
ix, 310 p.
ISBN
0465017436 (alk. paper), 9780465017430 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Basic Books, c2007.
isbn
0465017436 (alk. paper)
9780465017430 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
6197629
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 225-228) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-04-01:
During the American Revolution, Virginia had the Colonies' largest population, as well as the most influence and wealth. Its representatives in the Continental Congresses and to the Constitutional Convention guided and shaped the creation of the new country. Four of the first five US presidents came from the state, and Virginian John Marshall influenced the direction of the Supreme Court for 34 years. Dunn (Williams College) reveals that by the 1820s Virginia's influence had started to fade. An aging Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, along with Virginia's younger leaders, found themselves torn between the competing claims of state and nation, debating the questions of slavery and equality, and divided by the choices between an agrarian vision and the potential of economic development and prosperity. Virginia consciously chose to embrace Jefferson's vision of an aristocratic-republican-agrarian nation girded by slave labor, while northern states adopted Alexander Hamilton's vision of industrialization and commerce, ultimately broadening US democracy. In making these provincial and elitist choices, Virginia slipped from the epicenter of US leadership and drifted uncontrollably toward the Civil War, forsaking forever the idealism and preeminence it had gained during the Revolutionary era. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. G. A. Smith Texas Christian University
Appeared in Library Journal on 2007-05-01:
Dunn (humanities, Williams Coll.; Sister Revolutions: French Lightning, American Light) examines the period from the Revolution to the Civil War in Virginia, or the Old Dominion, as it is still nicknamed. Much of her book dwells on how Virginia exemplified the South, which during this period lagged behind the North in its industry, transportation, and education and was, needless to say, distinctive in its approach to social issues such as slavery and politics. Dunn's initial chapters focus on each of these issues and how they were intimately related to the actions and lifestyles of the Founding Fathers, many of whom were Virginians. The book concludes with a close examination of how the second generation of Virginia leaders broke their state from the Union, with the consequence that Virginia itself split into two states (West Virginia staying loyal to the North). Overall, this book offers an interesting glimpse into a less-examined time period in Virginia's rich but troublesome history. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries collecting comprehensively on the region and era.-Jenny Emanuel, Univ. of Central Missouri, Warrensburg (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2007-03-26:
Whatever happened to the great Commonwealth of Virginia? Dunn (Jefferson's Second Revolution: The Election Crisis of 1800) investigates how Virginia fell from being the most advanced and vibrant of the 18th-century American states to being among the new country's most stultified and parochial. Dunn points out that four of the first five American presidents were Virginians, and it was often supposed in the early Republic that, in the words of one politician, the Old Dominion had hatched "a systematic design of perpetually governing the country." By the 1820s, however, the commonwealth's once thriving economy had shuddered to a halt, its aristocratic planters were defaulting on their considerable debts, many lived in poverty and visitors from the industrializing, bustling Northeast noticed that everything was dirty and dilapidated--even Monticello and Mount Vernon. Dunn attributes Virginia's downfall to a combination of its ruling elite adhering to a "gentlemanly" way of life, its obsession with states' rights and the retention of slavery. These factors, Dunn says, fostered an atmosphere of indolence and tedious provincialism that condemned the Old Dominion to the status of a has-been champion musing nostalgically on the pleasures of the past. By focusing intently on the stresses within a single state, Dunn's is an admirable guide to those perplexed by the eventual sundering of the entire Union. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly, March 2007
Booklist, May 2007
Library Journal, May 2007
Reference & Research Book News, August 2007
Choice, April 2008
New York Times Full Text Review, October 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
The rise and fall of the Old Dominion-the decline of Virginia and the splintering of the new republic
Unpaid Annotation
Fora time the commonwealth of Virginia led the nation. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Marshall - each came from the state. For thirty-two of the first thirty-six years of the existence of the American republic, a Virginian held the office of President. And yet by the middle of the nineteenthcentury, Virginia was little more than a byword for slavery, provincialism and poverty. What happened? In Dominion of Memories, historian Susan Dunn chronicles the precipitous decline of what was once America's most promising state. While the North rapidly industrialized and democratized, Virginia lay captive to a firmly entrenched political elite that turned its back on the accelerating modern world. Two of Virginia's greatest sons, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, both observed and exemplified this divergence. Towards the end of his life, Jefferson became first and foremost a Virginian as he retreated from his earlier cosmopolitism in favour of an agrarian ideal. Madison on theother hand, rejected this vision and warned Virginians that their burgeoning parochialism would lead ultimately to disunion. This enthralling examination of the competing claims of country and homeland encapsulates in the history of a single state the struggle of an entire nation drifting inexorably towards Civil War.
Main Description
For decades, the Commonwealth of Virginia led the nation. The premier state in population, size, and wealth, it produced a galaxy of leaders: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Mason, Marshall. Four of the first five presidents were Virginians. And yet by the middle of the nineteenth century, Virginia had become a byword for slavery, provincialism, and poverty. What happened? In her remarkable book, Dominion of Memories, historian Susan Dunn reveals the little known story of the decline of the Old Dominion. While the North rapidly industrialized and democratized, Virginia's leaders turned their backs on the accelerating modern world. Spellbound by the myth of aristocratic, gracious plantation life, they waged an impossible battle against progress and time itself. In their last years, two of Virginia's greatest sons, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, grappled vigorously with the Old Dominion's plight. But bound to the traditions of their native soil, they found themselves grievously torn by the competing claims of state and nation, slavery and equality, the agrarian vision and the promises of economic development and prosperity. This fresh and penetrating examination of Virginia's struggle to defend its sovereignty, traditions, and unique identity encapsulates, in the history of a single state, the struggle of an entire nation drifting inexorably toward Civil War.
Main Description
For decades, the Commonwealth of Virginia led the nation. The premier state in population, size, and wealth, it produced a galaxy of leaders: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Mason, Marshall. Four of the first five presidents were Virginians. And yet by the middle of the nineteenth century, Virginia had become a byword for slavery, provincialism, and poverty. What happened? In her remarkable book,Dominion of Memories, historian Susan Dunn reveals the little known story of the decline of the Old Dominion. While the North rapidly industrialized and democratized, Virginia's leaders turned their backs on the accelerating modern world. Spellbound by the myth of aristocratic, gracious plantation life, they waged an impossible battle against progress and time itself. In their last years, two of Virginia's greatest sons, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, grappled vigorously with the Old Dominion's plight. But bound to the traditions of their native soil, they found themselves grievously torn by the competing claims of state and nation, slavery and equality, the agrarian vision and the promises of economic development and prosperity. This fresh and penetrating examination of Virginia's struggle to defend its sovereignty, traditions, and unique identity encapsulates, in the history of a single state, the struggle of an entire nation drifting inexorably toward Civil War.
Bowker Data Service Summary
For 32 of the first 36 years of the American republic, a Virginian held the office of President. Yet by the mid-19th century, Virginia was little more than a byword for slavery, provincialism and poverty. This book examines the rise and fall of the Old Dominion.
Long Description
For a Time the Commonwealth of Virginia led the nation. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Marshall--each came from the state. For thirty-two of the first thirty-six years of the existence of the American republic, a Virginian held the office of President. And yet by the middle of the nineteenth century, Virginia was little more than a byword for slavery, provincialism, and poverty. What happened? In Dominion of Memories, historian Susan Dunn chronicles the precipitous decline of the nation's most promising state. While the North rapidly industrialized and democratized, Virginia lay captive to a firmly entrenched political elite that turned its back on the accelerating modern world. Two of Virginia's greatest sons, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, both observed and exemplified this divergence. Towards the end of his life, Jefferson became first and foremost a Virginian as he retreated from his earlier cosmopolitism in favor of an agrarian ideal. Madison, on the other hand, rejected this vision and warned Virginians that their burgeoning parochialism would lead ultimately to disunion. This enthralling examination of the competing claims of country and homeland encapsulates in the history of a single state the struggle of an entire nation drifting inexorably towards Civil War.
Table of Contents
The cult of the soilp. 15
The cankers of indolence and slaveryp. 31
"Let us have our own schools"p. 61
Roads, canals, railroads : moving in placep. 85
Deluded citizens clamoring for banksp. 113
The case of Virginia v. John Marshallp. 133
Another constitutional conventionp. 149
Tariff warsp. 171
Abolitionists and other enemiesp. 191
Epilogue : Jefferson and Virginia, a hundred years laterp. 213
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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