Date of Award

Spring 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Jane T. Merritt

Committee Member

James R. Sweeney

Committee Member

Carolyn Lawes

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47 D838


The American Revolutionary War, officially concluded by the Treaty of Paris of 1783, forever changed American maritime enterprise. An examination of the response of Lower Chesapeake merchants to elimination of the British monopoly on American seagoing commerce reveals that Virginia shipping activity recovered quickly after the conflict, then expanded and prospered until the War of 1812. In addition to propelling the Commonwealth's post-war economic resurgence, Virginia's prosperous foreign trading interests influenced political decisions on Constitutional ratification, establishment of Confederation period and early national commercial policies, and diplomatic initiatives to strengthen American overseas exchange.

Principal sources include customs records of the Commonwealth found in the Library of Virginia Archives, and documents of the Colonial Office which are in the Colonial Williamsburg Research Library.


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