"Bleed on, blest tree!": Maple Sugar Georgics in the Early American Republic

"Bleed on, blest tree!": Maple Sugar Georgics in the Early American Republic <p>abstract:</p><p>In the 1790s agricultural improvers in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic United States began to promote the growth of a domestic maple sugar industry, and their enthusiasm for this regional product resulted in a short-lived "maple sugar bubble" that remains an understudied episode in early American food politics. Not only did these boosters conduct their own maple experiments, but they composed a series of poems, pamphlets, and personal correspondence in support of the movement. Merging the tradition of georgic literature with abolitionist rhetoric, these maple sugar georgics imagined a form of agricultural and economic resistance to the injustices of slavery; thus, they constitute an alternative antislavery georgic that promises to enrich our understanding of the relationship among political discourse, agricultural reform, and artistic production in the early republic. In the maple sugar writings of Benjamin Rush, Tench Coxe, David Humphreys, and Thomas Jefferson, three key aspects of agricultural discourse come to light: its use of the georgic mode to promote economic and ethical agendas; its concern for questions of environmental justice; and its struggle to negotiate factors of environmental and cultural resistance.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal University of Pennsylvania Press

"Bleed on, blest tree!": Maple Sugar Georgics in the Early American Republic

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The McNeil Center for Early American Studies.
ISSN
1559-0895

Abstract

<p>abstract:</p><p>In the 1790s agricultural improvers in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic United States began to promote the growth of a domestic maple sugar industry, and their enthusiasm for this regional product resulted in a short-lived "maple sugar bubble" that remains an understudied episode in early American food politics. Not only did these boosters conduct their own maple experiments, but they composed a series of poems, pamphlets, and personal correspondence in support of the movement. Merging the tradition of georgic literature with abolitionist rhetoric, these maple sugar georgics imagined a form of agricultural and economic resistance to the injustices of slavery; thus, they constitute an alternative antislavery georgic that promises to enrich our understanding of the relationship among political discourse, agricultural reform, and artistic production in the early republic. In the maple sugar writings of Benjamin Rush, Tench Coxe, David Humphreys, and Thomas Jefferson, three key aspects of agricultural discourse come to light: its use of the georgic mode to promote economic and ethical agendas; its concern for questions of environmental justice; and its struggle to negotiate factors of environmental and cultural resistance.</p>

Journal

Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary JournalUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: May 11, 2018

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