Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




1660 is the date conveniently accepted as marking the turn of Virginia society away from its early democratic character. After that date, colonial society became clearly stratified, and by the turn of the century had received its set firmly in the mold of aristocracy. The institution in which all the elements of aristocracy concentrated was the Governor's Council, which exhibited social, political, and economic power centered in the hands of a ruling few. The period from 1700 to 1750 is the high tide of councillor power. In the years before 1700, the steady rise of its power was interrupted by the events of Bacon's Rebellion and its popular influence which was slow in dying down. After 1750, it was doomed by the rising of the democratic and nationalistic spirit forecast by 1676 and accelerated by the influence of the great religious awakening of the seventeen-forties.

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