Chapter Outline

I. Tobacco Cultivation and Soil Exhaustion in Virginia and Maryland

Discussion Questions

1. What do John White's drawings and descriptions of the "Roanoke" Indians of present day North Carolina tell us about Indian methods of producing subsistence? How do they compare with the New England Indians of Chapter 3? What do White's depictions reveal about English perceptions of Indians?

2. According to Raphe Hamor, John Rolfe, and William Fitzhugh, why did the Virginia colonists turn to tobacco production soon after arrival in the Chesapeake Bay region? How would you characterize the mode of production used and why and how was it maintained throughout the colonial and post-revolutionary periods?

3. Compare the wilderness and pastoral images of nature in the documents by William Bradford and Thomas Morton in Chapter 3 with the images used in this chapter by Robert Beverley. What gender images do Morton and Beverley assign to nature, and how do you account for the similiarities and differences between the two regions and periods in which they lived? What might have been the social function of these images of nature in each case?

4. Elaborate the environmental history of the early tobacco South from the perspective of a particle of soil on the coastal plain of Virginia. In your answer, discuss soil and climatic conditions, tobacco cultivation methods, soil exhaustion, and soil improvement.

5. Compare white perceptions of blacks and black perceptions of whites in the Tobacco South. What assumptions about the connections between "nature" and "human nature" underlie these perceptions?

6. What connections do you see between the degradation of soils and the degradation of black people in the tobacco colonies? Why did slavery play a smaller role in New England than in the tobacco South? Why were blacks enslaved to a greater extent than Indians?