Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




James Axtell


The Tuscarora War marked a major turning point in the development of proprietary North Carolina. Beginning in 1711 and continuing for two years, the war rendered the central coastal plains a virtual wasteland and plunged the colony into an economic recession. Only the arrival of South Carolina troops in 1712 and 1713 saved North Carolina from complete destruction.;While the defeat of the Tuscaroras marked the end of their dominance along the North Carolina coastal plains, the war also served as a major catalyst behind political, economic, and demographic developments in the colony. During the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, proprietary neglect, coupled with the absence of an overseas trade, hindered early commercial development and led to chronic political instability. On the eve of the war, the colony was in the midst of a civil revolt as leaders from the Albemarle region vied with religious opponents and political competitors in Bath County for control of the government.;The war affected the political scenario of the colony insofar as it enabled the Albemarle elite to dominate the government. Albemarle officials used their newfound power to strengthen colonial institutions and establish their independence from the proprietors. The period of growth not only led to a trade boom in the 1720s but also led to the expansion of western and southern settlement along former Tuscarora territories.;Although the war provided the Albemarle elite with opportunities to promote the public interest as well as their personal fortunes, it did not end political factionalization. The removal of the Tuscaroras and the growth of the colonial economy attracted newcomers to the Cape Fear region whose commercial wealth was equal to if not greater than that of the Albemarle elite. as the Cape Fear planters began to infiltrate the colonial government, Albemarle leaders again resorted to factional and individualistic politics. By the end of the proprietary period, North Carolina had entered a new phase of factional politics that would continue until the mid-eighteenth century.



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