Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Crothers, A. Glenn

Author's Keywords

Green River; Kentucky yeoman; Kentucky farmers; Kentucky's political economy; Southside


Green River Valley (Ky.)--History--19th century; Green River Valley (Ky.)--Economic conditions--19th century; Farms, Small--Kentucky--History


This study focuses on the expansion of the Green River's economic and political importance within Kentucky and how it impacted small farmers of the region. It challenges the idea that small farmers played an insignificant role in the agriculture and industry of the antebellum South. Qualitative data, including journals and letters, are used to understand small farmers' reactions to market expansion. Quantitative data, including agricultural and population censuses, are used to determine small farmers' participation in the economy. Small farmers actively participated in commercial exchanges of crops and livestock and encouraged the growth of a transportation infrastructure to market their goods. Economic development within the region revolutionized activity within the political arena. As the economic infrastructure matured, small farmers elected politicians who sought to expand commerce and safeguard markets.