Conceiving Carolina: Proprietors, Planters, and Plots, by L. Roper

By L. Roper

Written from a transatlantic point of view and established mostly on fundamental resources, Conceiving Carolina offers the 1st systematic remedy of the colonization of South Carolina in over a century. It argues that the political tradition that constructed within the colony amounted to an extension of the political existence in early sleek England. Provincial politics, in flip, formed social advancements, particularly the emergence of a slave society. hence, the e-book calls into query the thought of the inherent contrast and modernity of colonial British the United States.

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Prospective leet-men would almost certainly have lacked the 40-shilling freehold necessary to hold the franchise in England. The landless neither voted nor held any place in an English political nation that, correspondingly, offered them no protection. Such people would have had no rights to surrender in the first place had they enrolled themselves as leet-men. In fact, had the impoverished of late seventeenth-century England transported themselves to Carolina they not only would have gained the material advantages and security offered by leet status, they would actually have acquired formal avenues to pursue grievances.

On Ashley’s own plantation at St. Giles Edisto, after serving their time as servants, “Every Originall Leetman” could expect a house in a town along with 60 acres as a copyhold together with common land sufficient to accommodate three or four cows, along with two cows, two sows, and 15 bushels of corn. Then, in order to encourage the “posterity” of leet-men to settle on his lands, Ashley proposed to give them at least ten more acres at their marriage. 95 In a philosophical sense, the intended situation of leet-men may have seemed a masterstroke.

86 This created organs of government that properly balanced liberty and order. It also created the privileges and dignities of a hereditary aristocracy—the social, military, and political backbone of the province—and it provided for religious toleration. 87 With assurances of rights and privileges in writing and in advance, the weightier sort would surely flock to Carolina where, in turn, they would implement the Constitutions and take their place atop the society. The resulting order would provide the basis for acquiring and maintaining estates (and pursuing commerce) as well as achieving prosperity that, again in turn, would attract even more migrants seeking to better themselves in Carolina.

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