Through a comparison with Barbados (a slave society that chose to remain a part of the British empire), I argue that without the opportunity created by those material conditions, the American Revolution would either not have happened or been quickly and effectively put down. After the American Revolution, the landscape came to play an important role in controlling the enslaved, who, despite hearing the rhetoric of liberty, found themselves excluded from its promise. That landscape gave physical form to the debates over the character of the new nation.
While Neoclassical architecture and design were common throughout the new republic, the Southern emphasis on Greek Revival design, especially in domestic architecture, allowed planters to better hide the work of the enslaved within the household while articulating their support for rhetoric that sought to merge the practice of slavery and the language of democracy. In the aftermath of Revolution, when the rhetoric of liberty raised questions of who belonged to that new citizenry, Southern planters used the built environment to restrict citizenship and to unite aesthetic with ideology.
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