"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
William Byrd II
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Van de Vyver Institute Diploma
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Planter Oligarchy on Virginia’s Northern Neck

Presenter: 
John C. Coombs
Duration: 
(01:03:17)

On October 4, 2012, John C. Coombs delivered a Banner Lecture entitled "Planter Oligarchy on Virginia’s Northern Neck." The rise of a distinct class of affluent families to economic, social, and political dominance in Virginia during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries is without doubt one of the most important developments in the Old Dominion's early history. As a group, however, the "gentry" were far from homogenous. John C. Coombs will draw on research for his forthcoming book The Rise of Virginia Slavery to discuss the foundations of power that were common across all ranks of the elite, as well as the circumstances that allowed the Carters, Lees, and Tayloes to achieve distinction as the colony's "first families." Dr. Coombs is a professor of history at Hampden-Sydney College and coeditor of Early Modern Virginia: Reconsidering the Old Dominion. This lecture is cosponsored by The Menokin Foundation, which owns and operates the Richmond County plantation home of Francis Lightfoot Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his wife Rebecca Tayloe Lee. This lecture was cosponsored with The Menokin Foundation. (Introduction by Paul Levengood and Sarah Dillard Pope)