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The economic & social transformation of rural Rhode Island, 1780-1850

Author: Daniel P Jones
Publisher: Boston : Northeastern University Press, ©1992.
Series: New England studies.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
In the body of literature on New England during the early years of the Republic, there have been few sustained studies of its rural regions. A significant contribution to this growing field of interest is Daniel P. Jones's work on the transformation of northwestern Rhode Island from a relatively insular region, resistant to economic and social reforms promoted by commercial interests in the eastern part of the  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Daniel P Jones
ISBN: 1555531210 9781555531218
OCLC Number: 24430096
Description: xv, 267 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
Series Title: New England studies.
Other Titles: Economic and social transformation of rural Rhode Island, 1780-1850
Responsibility: Daniel P. Jones.

Abstract:

In the body of literature on New England during the early years of the Republic, there have been few sustained studies of its rural regions. A significant contribution to this growing field of interest is Daniel P. Jones's work on the transformation of northwestern Rhode Island from a relatively insular region, resistant to economic and social reforms promoted by commercial interests in the eastern part of the state, to a full participant in a regional economy centered in Providence. Much is known about late eighteenth-century rural communities' periodic resistance to and rebellion against commercialism, whereas little attention has been paid to the process by which once-alienated communities reintegrated themselves in an increasingly commercial nation. Jones focuses on the gap in New England's history, enriching our understanding of how rural New England lost its isolated character and, through an often painful process, entered the modern world. The industrial revolution brought innovations to the region--turnpikes, tax-supported schools, and cotton-mill dams--that were at first strenuously resisted by the local settlers; however, they eventually adopted the intrusive forms of modernization. In addition, accommodating themselves to the tangible demands of an industrializing state evoked a change in their religious practices, as they abandoned the idiosyncratic practices of the Six-Principle Baptist sect in favor of the more cosmopolitan Free-Will Baptism. The struggles that took place in the rural regions of a commercializing nation have left their mark. As Jones notes in his preface, "From the vantage point of postindustrial United States, the triumph of commercial civilization and its values seems to have been inevitable. Such hindsight, however, was not available to those interior yeomanry who struggled, for a few crucial decades at the turn of the eighteenth century, to maintain their social independence and cultural identity. Although their efforts have generally failed, they nevertheless forced their cosmopolitan antagonists to alter the course of cultural progress and commercial growth. And in a larger sense, if the values of anti-elitism and democratic localism have survived in the late twentieth century, they can trace their origins in part to the persistent strivings of the backcountry yeomen."

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