Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Crothers, A. Glenn

Author's Keywords

Land; Environment; Kentucky; Virginia; Laws; Revolution


Kentucky--History--18th century; Frontier and pioneer life--Kentucky; Land use--Kentucky--History--18th century; Land tenure--Kentucky--18th century; Land settlement patterns--Kentucky--History--18th century


This study provides a narrative of Revolutionary Kentucky, focused on three key areas. First, it traces the struggle Native Americans, white settlers and speculators, and the various colonial, state, imperial, and national governments that claimed the territory for control and possession of Kentucky’s lands in the late eighteenth century. Second, this study focuses on the long-term effects of the struggle over Kentucky’s lands, paying particular attention to Virginia’s land laws of 1778-79, which created the framework by which the state distributed Kentucky’s land, and based on poor implementation of Jeffersonian notions of republicanism and allodial land ownership. Third, this study examines. The region's transition from an Indian hunting ground to an agricultural economy radically changed the ecology; seeing the elimination of Kentucky’s bison as an archetype of the broader environmental changes taking place. This study argues, in short, that the conflict over the use and ownership of Kentucky lands dramatically impacted Native Americans, Euro-Americans, the future course of western settlement, and the ecology of the region itself.