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The Birth of Virginia’s Aristocracy explains how the first civil society formed in Virginia, what purposes it served, who its members were, and what happened to it as it aged. The transformation of Virginia’s leading families into an “aristocracy” was the final stage in the development of its first society.

This was not just a matter of accumulating wealth and political influence. Virginia’s aristocracy was born, I explain, when Colonel Richard Lee II transferred his allegiance from the squabbling, fragmented community that surrounded him in the royal colony of Virginia to a distant English Lord. The descendents of the men who filled Virginia’s first general assembly followed Lee more or less en masse. By surrendering their personal sovereignty to Thomas, 5th lord Fairfax they effectively became members of the hierarchical/hereditary social system that ascended to the King of England – and completed the birth of Virginia‘s aristocracy.


  • List of Illustrations
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Colonization
  • Chapter 2: The Commonwealth Period
  • Chapter 3: Civil Society in Virginia
  • Chapter 4: From Commonwealth to Collapse
  • Chapter 5: The Rule under Law of Gentlemen
  • Chapter 6: The Reign of Charles II
  • Chapter 7: Col. Richard Lee’s Submission to Lord Fairfax
  • Chapter 8: The Squirearchy in the Revolutionary Era
  • Chapter 9: Thomas Jefferson’s Other Rebellion
  • Endnote
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Distributed by Ingram Books
ISBN: 978-0-9825922-2-9 (paperback)
Retail Price: $16.00
ISBN: 978-0-9825922-1-2 (Ebook) ​

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