Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Don H Doyle

Abstract

Thomas Sumter Jr. (1768-1840) and Natalie Delage's (1782-1841) marriage in 1802 joined prominent families from the United States and France. Although both families enjoyed an elite status in their societies, they had sharply divergent political ideologies and commitments in a revolutionary era shaped by ideological conflict. The South Carolinian Sumter family was as steadfastly republican as the French de Lage family was royalist. Despite holding to these dichotomous ideologies, this emergent Atlantic family pursued vigorous transatlantic and transnational strategies in the effort to uphold their status, and ensure the financial and social stability of future generations. This essay examines these strategies by following the de Lage and Sumter families as the contingencies of the Age of Atlantic Revolutions allowed for theirunlikely union. It then traces their uneasy and uneven attempts to forge a common transatlantic family strategy over the course of the following forty years. Focusing on these families' often aggressive relocations, and their careful deliberation over marriage choices, this essay seeks to understand how a family attempted to interpret and respond to the uncertainties of the revolutionary and post-revolutionary Atlantic. Despite the Delage-Sumter family's tenuous ideological and cultural discordancy, they were able to forge coherent transatlantic strategies for several decades. They did so by focusing on what they shared: the importance ofthe family's continued economic security,social status, and political stability. In exploring their story, this essay participates in the turn to micro-history by historians of the Atlantic World, for micro-history's utility in articulating the details of macro-historical phenomena, and for probing prevailing historical metanarratives.

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History Commons

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