Four Decades of Social Change: Scottsville, Virginia, 1820-1860

Hess, Karl, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
Barton, Josef J., University of Virginia

The nature of this study and the sources available have necessitated a singular methodological approach. Utilizing manuscript census data as the core of my research, I have attempted to reconstruct the social history of Scottsville during the four decades between settlement and the Civil War. Specifically, this study focuses on the social changes within the community that accompanied the emergence, expansion, and contraction of Scottsville's commercial market. To accomplish this task, I have relied on the household unit as my primary tool of social analysis. This particular approach has two advantages. First, the household unit is easily extracted from existing data. Second, it represents the foundation upon which the entire Scottsville community was structured. By tracing the demographic and social changes within and among the various households, I have been able to identify the evolving character of the Scottsville community and the processes behind that development.

Thus, the account which follows is an exercise in the writing of a local social history; a history in which the life experiences of a people and the social developments within their community take precedence over a discussion of formal institutions and detailed ideologies which were, for the most part, peripheral to the day by day concerns of antebellum residents of Scottsville. Accordingly, the organization of this paper reflects the double theme of individual and community social experience during forty years of Scottsville's history.

MA (Master of Arts)
Virginia, social change, Scottsville

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-03-17 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:36:23.

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