Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Woody Holton

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert C. Kenzer

Third Advisor

Warren M. Billings


The years following the American War for Independence were marked by economic decline and political uncertainty. In the mid-1780s, Virginia was mired in a depression that gave rise to a vocal movement that called for a return to a policy of emitting paper currency to augment scarce supplies of gold and silver coin. While historians have discussed Virginia's monetary situation at length there has never been a satisfactory examination of the people who supported this particular movement. Petitions from Brunswick County residents who backed emissions of paper money provide an opportunity to develop a more accurate portrait of this group. Correlating petitioners with data such as their wealth in terms of real and personal property, voting patterns, and creditor/debtor status achieved this enhanced understanding. It is clear that Brunswick's paper money movement drew support from a cross-section of the community and especially from those who struggled with debt.

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