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Shaping the Cattle Space 7: A History of the Future—the Plantation America Link
© 2021 James LaFond
“How come you call Colonial America “The Plantations” and how could that time have any bearing in today, other than as an example?”
-Doordash Dan
In the era from 1585 through 1775, English Speaking North America was ruled by the English Crown through various corporations, plantations, colonies and provinces. In the 1600s First the Virginia Company and then a provincial governor ruled, “His Majesty’s Colony, the Plantation of Virginia.”
There were three contexts in which Pennsylvania was viewed:
-An English Province Governed by a Governor
-As a Plantation, according to the Laws set down by The Planter and Propietor, William Penn and His Heirs,
-With said civic laws comprising the Colonial charter
Every entity we call a colony, was under English law a Province, which is to say the territory.
It was also a Plantation, which is to say a body of people planted there in order that in the act of surviving, they would form a taxable economic base and provide the King’s navy a place to anchor, resupply and refit.
Such a place would also qualify as a Colony, in that the civic administration of its own people, under a proprietor would not constitute an affront to English common law, would remain compatible with the will of the monarch, and cultivate a sense of loyalty to God, King and Country that would permit the raising of a local militia so that the plantation [economy] and province [natural resources] might not drain the home nation’s military capacity on its distant behalf.
Each given province would stress that it was either a Colony [such as Plymouth, Massachusetts and Georgia] when it was founded on religious or ideological grounds, or would stress another aspect of social structure, the Colony being the Internal-structure, the Province the Over-structure and the Plantation the under structure. The prejudice for naming themselves colonies in the Declaration of Independence showed that the signatories had a clear foundational view that Government was more important than the People to be governed.
Those provinces such as Providence, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland, founded by individual gentry or corporations, tended to be called Plantations.
Territories such as New Jersey and New York, conquered from or ceded by rival European powers such as Holland, were typically referred to as a Province.
Of course, this is to say, in official correspondence. Charles II once referred to Virginia as “that naked land.”
As for most of the people and all of the people “bound” “transported” “kidnapped” or “bundled-off” to America, they all called it “the Plantations.”
Common folk in England almost all called America “The Plantations.”
An exception was the minority of free folk headed for New England, who were often wealthy and very often members of “puritan” religious congregations. These Congregationalists had more political influence back in England in that the majority of their religious brethren, operating in a highly corporate form, and had constant access to those ministers who oversaw the activities of the King’s governors and magistrates in The Plantations.
Such colonies were peopled by more numerous free folk, likely to name their settlements “Plantations” in agreement with the unfree folk that this was a land of planted people here to work for their overseers. However, the rights of such folk were vested in the colonial compacts and were proud of their superior ability to manage the defense of the King’s Province. Thus in 1675 Virginia [the preeminent Plantation] failed to defend itself during an uprising and New England [three cooperating Colonies and Providence Plantation] boasted that they put down their rebellion without the need for the King to send troops, as he had to in Virginia. This boast, would become the rub, in the 1750s and 1760s, when the Colonial militias had their asses kicked by the Indians and needed regular military support.
This was the road that most led to the rebellion of 1776, which was not at all a “Revolution” but an assertion that the elites of The Plantations could defend these lands, even from the King, let alone the savages and rebels on their frontiers.
Of the three aspects of an English speaking Plantation, the Plantation spoke in its very origins to the King’s right to tax the products of the place, the designation of province spoke of the King’s right to have his administrators rule within those boundaries, and only the term Colony, the least used of the three designations during what we now call the “Colonial Period” was adopted for the very reason that it was the only term that was semantically friendly to the idea of self-determination. For The Continental Congress had been preceded by various bodies of ruling elites from The House of Burgesses in Virginia, The signatories of the Mayflower Compact and the Board of Trustees of Georgia, an elite of acutely class-conscious men used to ruling in all matters other than taxation and major military conflict.
These men, especially if they had been descended from bound-over, but mostly as they were descended from “Ancient Planters” [the overseers of those bound-over slaves] had no wish to liken their New Roman-Style Republic according to the servile status of those wretches who they were now often compelled to arm as soldiers, but rather to harken back to their forefather’s initial semi-independence from the Mother Country and its King, when internal civics were elft largely to the local Planter aristocracy to work out.
This very real need to paint a wigged portrait of the American elite rather than the cropped-ear wretch that toiled in fields not his own, so that his master might rise up against his own master—“Oh, to have such a distant master, how sweet that would be”—must have chaffed the bound souls who served for free against the King so that there master would not get shot at, only to be returned to his stern clutches at War’s end.
Conspiracy, yes. Scores, of brilliant, sensible, practical men sat in conclave in Philadelphia, conspiring against their King—and damned if they were going to justify the gripes and discontents of those on whose bent backs their fortunes rose by reminding the men even then being pressed into service or volunteering to shoulder muskets on their behalf [against equally unfree poor sorts in red coats] in hopes of their own eventual freedom, that they had been shipped here as beasts of burden.
So, to call pre-1775 America “The Colonies” rather than what most people called it, is misleading. But in 1776, there was no other viable choice that would serve the identities and ambitions of the conspirators, but to stress that portion of their past they were breaking with that spoke of agency, rather than that portion that named them overseers and proprietors of the Plantations that swallowed some millions of European souls, youths mostly, who passed from life as nothing but a cipher of a better man’s ambition.
Why is Plantation America important to today?
Because a plantation was nothing but a place where many people were planted so that a few people could make money. Most of the people reading this live in America. I ask you, in practical terms, what is America but a place were most people are forgotten so that a few people can make much money?
The trick to running it, now that it is jammed with hundreds of millions of people, is to convince those people that they are not forgotten even as they are deceived and gotten.
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nc     Feb 8, 2022

fantastic James
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