Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of History

Committee Chair

Dan Flores

Commitee Members

Kyle Volk, Phil Condon


Chesapeake, Edward Bland, Robert Beverley, Thomas Jefferson, Virginia, Wilderness, William Byrd II


University of Montana


This paper examines attitudes toward wilderness in the Chesapeake from 1650 to 1787. Traditionally scholars have argued that responses to wilderness during this time period were more ideological than pragmatic, but this paper argues the opposite, using as case studies four accounts by Chesapeake residents: The Discovery of New Brittaine (1650), by Edward Bland; The History and Present State of Virginia (1705), by Robert Beverley, The History of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and North Carolina (1728), by William Byrd II; and Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), by Thomas Jefferson. Religious and intellectual views were not the primary influences of these responses; instead, settlers assessed wilderness according to the material value of its resources. This mode of evaluation perhaps stemmed from the pressures of a tobacco economy.

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© Copyright 2008 Katie Elizabeth Green