History of Virginia
The History of Virginia began with the settlement of the geographic region now known as the Commonwealth of Virginia in the U.S. thousands of years ago by Native Americans.
- 1 Colonial
- 2 Revolution
- 3 New Nation
- 4 Civil War
- 5 Reconstruction
- 6 20th century
- 7 Indians
- 8 Colonial Era
- 9 American Revolution
- 10 New Nation
- 11 Civil War and Reconstruction
- 12 New South 1877-1913
- 13 War, Depression and War, 1913-1950
- 14 Massive Resistance and Modernization, 1950-1975
- 15 Postmodern State, 1975-present
- 16 Bibliography
- 17 Localities and regions
- 18 External links
Permanent European settlement began with English settlers at Jamestown in 1607. Tobacco emerged as a profitable export crop, and the Virginia Colony became the richest and largest British colonies in North America. The year 2007 marked the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown.
As one of the original 13 United States which won their independence from Great Britain during the American Revolution,
Virginia produced more national leaders than any state, including four of the first five presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe).
The new state gave up its western lands to form Kentucky and Ohio. During the first half of the 19th century, Virginia grew less rapidly than industrial states to the north, or cotton states to the south. The state exported young people and slaves to form plantations and farms to the west and south.
Virginia was a slave state but refused to join the cotton states in the new Confederacy until Lincoln called for troops to invade the Confederacy. Then it seceded and Richmond became the new Confederate capital. After many decades of sectional hostility in 1861 West Virginia broke away as a separate state and joined the Union.
With the Yankees intent on capturing Richmond, Virginia became the main battlefield of the war, which it lost in 1865 as its greatest general, Robert E. Lee, surrendered.
Reconstruction brought the liberation of the state's slaves, and proved less contentious than elsewhere in the South. Virginia was poor after 1865, though the new popularity of cigarettes boosted its tobacco industry.
After 1940, prosperity returned. World War II gave the state a major naval and industrial economic base. Desegregation of schools and the integration of African Americans in many other aspects of the society were major issues from the 1950s to the 1970s and the changes did not come without considerable efforts. However, in 1989 Douglas Wilder became the first elected black governor anywhere in the country. By the 1980s the suburban fringes of Washington known as "Northern Virginia" saw the greatest growth and prosperity, a trend which was also seen in the Hampton Roads region. The rest of the state was relatively poor, with little growth.
Politically, the state was a stronghold of conservative Democrats—led by Harry Byrd—for most of the 20th century, with a new strength shown by conservative Republicans in the final decade. In the early 21st century, funding for transportation needs emerged as the most controversial single issue.
In partisan terms, the two parties compete furiously for the legislature and the governorship. In presidential elections Virginia was reliably Republican from 1968 until 2004, but in 2008 Obama won, thanks to the growing liberal strength in the Washington suburbs.
for the state today see Virginia
Before Europeans arrived, there were three main groups of American Indians living in the area now covered by Virginia. These were the Algonquian, Iroquoian (including Cherokee, Meherrin and Nottoway) and the Siouan Indians.
The Powhatan were the most powerful and numerous tribe; they lived in settled villages in the eastern shore and tidewater regions. Their food came from hunting, fishing, and garden crops, such as corn, squash, and pumpkins. The Indian population of Virginia was never great, numbering perhaps 17,000 in 1607. The numbers declined sharply because of new diseases especially smallpox. The English adopted many Indian place names, including Appomattox, Nansemond, Rappahannock, and Shenandoah.
English adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh led an exploration party in 1584. A group of men from England invested in a Joint Stock Company called "The Virginia Company" to find gold and other treasures. King James I granted lands to company in 1606 stretching from North Carolina to New York. The name "Virginia" honors Queen Elizabeth I (known as the "Virgin Queen" as she never married). The company in 1607 sent 105 settlers who established the first permanent settlement.
The stockade village, named "Jamestown" after King James I, was poorly sited in a grassy swamp filled with malaria-bearing mosquitoes. There was a shortage of fresh water or good soil. Malaria and other diseases, "starving times" of low food supplies, low morale, poor leadership, and repeated Indian attacks left Jamestown on the verge of extinction. In 1624 the company was bankrupt and the king revoked the charter; the colony thus came under the direct administration of the crown until 1775.
The second Tidewater War of 1644-46 was a decisive struggle between a vigorous colonial society and a declining Indian civilization. After the initial Indian attack led by Opechancanough, the Virginians launched a three-pronged campaign that dealt a heavy blow to the Powhatan Indian confederation. As a result of the 1646 treaty, Indians were sent to small reservations. Most white Virginia men were willing enough to serve or support the militia and cooperated with the demands of the military system; success also came from the demographic nature of the colony. Virginia's victory was a major step toward the Anglo-American domination of the continent.
The Virginia General Assembly of 1619 was called to give the anticipated large number of new settlers a voice in the government of the colony. It was the first elected government in the America, and is now one of the oldest in the world. The governor and council acted informally as an upper house of the legislature until 1680 when a formal bicameral body was established.
The royal government brought political and legal stability and largely ended the Indian threat. Prosperity came after 1660 with the realization that tobacco could be grown for a huge profit and that black slaves could do the work. Virginia developed a distinctive culture that spread from there through much of the South. Tobacco and slavery produced an economic, social, and political system dominated by a native oligarchy of rich farmers called the planter aristocracy. Poor whites operated self-sufficient farms, with a little tobacco grown for personal use and cash sales. There were no cities or even towns, as the planters shipped tobacco in barrels from small wharfs close to their plantations directly to London.
Bacon's rebellion, 1676
In 1675 the people were ripe for a rebellion. The spark came from fear of Indian attacks and the feeling that the royal governor, Sir William Berkeley (1606-1677), was not doing his job to protect the colonists. In 1676, they rallied around Nathaniel Bacon, a recent arrival from England, as their leader against the Indians who had launched bloody raids against settlements on the northern and western frontiers. Bacon demanded the right to lead volunteers against all Indians, even those living peacefully within the colony, in retaliation. Berkeley, fearing unjust dispossession and slaughter of the friendly Indians, refused. Bacon ignored the governor's restriction and led volunteers to the southern frontier in May 1676, where he slaughtered and plundered the friendly Occaneechee Indians. Berkeley was furious but the colonists hailed him a hero.
When the governor attempted to call him to account, Bacon marched to Jamestown and, at gunpoint, forced the assembly to grant him formal authority to fight the Indian war, which he then prosecuted against another friendly tribe, the Pamunkey. Berkeley now attempted to raise forces to reestablish his own authority, and Bacon turned on the governor with his volunteers. Civil war ensued. Berkeley was driven to the eastern shore of Virginia; Bacon burned Jamestown, the capital. For a few months Bacon's word was law on the mainland; he may have been thinking of independence from the Empire. Suddenly, in October 1676, Bacon died of natural causes and his rebellion disintegrated. Berkeley, having recruited volunteers, defeated the remaining rebels, and, by February 1677, reestablished his authority. Soon thereafter 1,000 troops, sent by King Charles II to suppress the rebellion, arrived, accompanied by commissioners to investigate its causes. Berkeley had revenged himself by executing defeated rebels after quick courts martial, and for that was severely censured by the commissioners. They sent him to England to justify himself but Berkeley died before seeing the king.
Slavery and freedom
A central paradox in American history is the simultaneous rise of liberty and equality and the rise of slavery. With particular attention to Virginia, Morgan (1972) has offered a resolution of the paradox. Virginians feared the presence of large numbers of landless and dependent poor people as antithetical to political liberty and social well-being. Yet, this is what was happening in Virginia, leading to Bacon's Rebellion in 1676. Large numbers of young, armed, single white men had come to Virginia to seek their fortune. They worked on tobacco plantations for wages and few could expect to become planters. They became a source of peril to the established gentry. Governor Berkeley had lamented that "six parts of seven at least are poor, indebted, discontented, and armed." The gentry solved the problem after Bacon's rebellion by replacing the white men with black slaves. This reduced the need to import white servants, opened opportunities for whites who remained, and enabled Virginia to build its free political institutions upon slavery.
Historians have disagreed as to whether slavery in colonial Virginia was made politically and psychologically acceptable by an inherent racism among white Europeans, or if slavery emerged as a result of economic factors and racism developed as a consequence of it. The consensus is that the enslavement of Africans was due to economic requirements for labor, to the inability of Africans to resist slavery, and to European beliefs that Africans were an inferior branch of humanity, suited by their characteristics and circumstances to be lifelong slaves.
Politically the planters controlled local government through their control of the Anglican parishes and county government; neither was elected. The planters also controlled elections to the colonial legislature, the House of Burgesses. English institutions were changed into a system of democracy—most white men owned property so they could and did vote, and usually voted for their "betters". (In England, by contrast, fewer than 10% of the men could vote.) The gentry tried to emulate the life style of British gentlemen; their favorite pastimes were gambling, billiards, cards, bowling, cockfighting, and especially horse racing. The increasing social solidarity among the gentry depended horse racing. The rules, the patterns of betting, and the relations of the persons involved reflected gentry values and shows their values regarding acquisitiveness, honor, individualism, materialism, personal relationships, and symbols. Gaming among the gentry strengthened class cohesion and cultural dominance by the gentry.
Demographic conditions after 1660 were increasingly favorable. Malaria was not fatal to people born in Virginia, and the food supply was ample. Both the white and black population grew rapidly. Wars were uncommon and small-scale. Immigration comprised mostly middle-class families, plus poor teenagers who came as "indentured servants" and became fully independent at age 21. Between 1718 and 1775, Britain dumped about 20,000 convicts in Virginia (after the Revolution it sent them to Australia).
It was a patriarchal society ruled exclusively by men. However, if a man overstepped the boundaries of local norms, the county court could intervene and punish him. Thus in 1668-70 a rich planter named Henry Smith was charged several times in court—he was accused of concubinage, wife beating, adultery, child abuse, fathering bastards, sexual harassment, rape, and brutality toward servants. The court heard damning testimony from his wife and from his mistress and other local women. Illiterate and isolated but well versed in their legal and customary rights and duties, the women knew how to handle Smith, who was found guilty.
Despite male political control, women had some economic power. Men generally believed their wives were competent to control their estates and to wield economic power, and widows proved self-reliant and able managers of their property and wealth. Running farms without the help of a son, widows often delayed giving children their inheritance, wielding their economic power for personal and familial ends. However, whereas male opportunity for independence and power increased with age, it decreased with age for women. Older men were much less likely than younger men to transfer their economic power to their wives, instead passing it along to adult children.
Tobacco plantations were in the "tidewater" area close to the ocean. Plenty of good cheap land was available on the frontier. The settlers west of the Blue Ridge mountains from the 1720s to the 1740s were mostly German and Scotch-Irish Protestants, whose society contrasted sharply with tidewater Anglican colonists. Historians explaining the distinctiveness of the backcountry focus on two factors: the availability of good land at low prices and the pioneering efforts of land speculators encouraged by the colonial government.
Most Virginians were not very religious, but most also believed in a spirit world. The supernatural world of the settlers involved belief in benevolent and demonic forces, divine judgment, omens, magic, witchcraft, combat with the devil, and other ideas brought over from England. This complex supernatural world functioned to explain the unknown, sanction colonization, demonize the native population, control the colonists, and provide a defense against internal and external enemies.
The Anglican religion was established—meaning that taxes were collected to support the church and the parish handled poor relief. Scattered settlements and the lack of trained Anglican ministers—there were only 109 Anglican ministers in 1775—meant that piety was practiced mostly at home. Itinerant ministers encouraged parishioners to use the Book of Common Prayer for private prayer and devotion. This allowed Anglicans to lead an active and sincere religious life apart from formal church services. Private piety, however, weakened the Anglican Church, and what clergy there were controlled by the laymen in the vestry. The vestrymen filled vacancies in their own ranks, and was thus self-perpetuating and increasingly isolated from the people. As a result, Anglicans were unable to counter the First Great Awakening, which created a large Baptist denomination.
James Blair (1655-1743) arrived in 1685 as an Anglican missionary and representative of the Bishop of London. Blair was a latitudinarian churchman, Whiggish advocate of colonial prerogatives, backstage political operator, and acting governor (1740–41), Most important, he founded and was president of the College of William and Mary, which he designed to spread throughout America some of the Christian humanism that he learned in 17th century Scotland.
Rise of the Baptists
Created in 1758, the Sandy Creek Association was the third Baptist association formed in colonial America. It brought together all Separate Baptist churches in Virginia and the Carolinas. Its early meetings were times of singing, preaching, and encouraging and training younger pastors, but it split three ways in 1770 because Shubal Stearns, the legendary Baptist leader, established a strongly centralized organization that many churches felt they had to leave to preserve their autonomy.
From 1755 to 1790 Virginia hosted numerous local religious revivals that led to the rapid growth of the Baptist Church among poor white farmers. Converts were particularly drawn to the faith by its promise to provide social order through heightened self-discipline and its ability to elicit interpersonal contact and intense emotional release. Although the congregations have been described as favorably disposed toward slaves, an overwhelming body of evidence suggests the predominance of proslavery tendencies. Friends, relatives and neighbors brought potential converts to revival meetings, and supported them when they converted. After 1800 black slaves adopted the Baptist religion as well, ignoring the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches of their owners
The Anglican elite depended on automatic deference from ordinary farmers. Increasingly the Baptists and Presbysterians refused to doff their hats or vote the way they were told, and they managed to stick together thanks to their strong social networks. The colonial government faced the issue by creating a standing "Committee for Religion" in the House of Burgesses in 1769. It first made sure London did not impose an Anglican bishop for the colony, and thus kept Anglican church affairs in the hands of the gentry. It was forced to concede to dissenter demands for greater toleration and agreed to allow several parishes the right to elect their vestrymen. As the colonial era ended the interlocking crises of religion in Virginia remained unresolved, but the committee had served as a forum within which the ruling elite worked out solutions that were designed to win public support.
Virginia's political culture of latre colonial and Revolutionary Virginia involved widespread suffrage—most white men could and did vote. This political culture was concerned with maintaining order, ensuring that justice prevailed, preserving the ideal of - government by the virtuous and enlightened, and keeping an open society where a man might rise as high as his ability, resources, and opportunities allowed. Virginians were increasingly worried that Britain threatened this political utopia.
The Stamp Act of 1765 outraged Virginians. Their historic rights of Englishmen had been trampled because they were not consulted regarded the new tax. Patrick Henry persuaded the Virginia House of Burgesses to adopt in May, 1765, the Virginia Resolves against the Stamp Act: not only did Henry deliver the famous Caesar-Brutus speech; he wrote the Resolves, planned with George Johnston the strategies for debate on the house floor, and spoke at several points in the debate which initiated colonial resistance to the Act, resistance which culminated in the Act's repeal in 1766.
Physician, planter, patriot, soldier, legislator, Theodorick Bland (1742-1790) was an active participant in the major events of his time. Born into a prominent family at the zenith of Virginia's golden age, Bland was trained in medicine in Scotland, London and Paris. He gave up his medical practice in 1771, becoming a tobacco planter and politician. His public career was spent in the defense of the gentry's power and position. His principal motivation was his desire to enable the world of his birth to survive and prosper in the wake of the massive political, economic, and social upheavals that occurred during the 1770s-90s. he raised a regiment and fought alongside George Washington. Most of Washington’s officers became federalists who supported the Constitution in 1788, but not Bland. Bland's antifederalist views were the ultimate manifestation of his devotion to the world of the tobacco aristocracy. Like Patrick Henry and George Mason, Bland voted against the new constitution, viewing the document as a serious threat to their power and position. When it was adopted, he ran for and was elected to Congress, but died before he made his mark there.
The free black population grew rapidly during 1771-1815. Before the American Revolution the increase in the free black population was due mainly to local emancipations, natural population increase, and migration from rural areas. During and after the Revolution, however, there were additional ways to become free, including petitions and lawsuits, the 1782 manumission act, self-purchase, purchase by already free blacks, and individual emancipation. Fear of free blacks in an age of black revolts, however, prompted whites to impose restrictions on manumission and migration and ultimately to revert to the colonial-era policy of expelling free blacks from Virginia.
Formal laws and informal customs created innumerable obstacles to the socioeconomic advance of the free black population. Laws prohibited free blacks from some activities and occupations and restricted their participation in others. Racism and terrorism by whites also made advancement difficult. Despite these disadvantages, Virginia's free black population fared rather well, with much better nutrition than people back in Europe or Africa. They grew nearly as tall as white Americans and towered over contemporary Europeans.
Civil War and Reconstruction
New South 1877-1913
The Readjuster Party was a political faction formed in Virginia in the late 1870s during the turbulent period following Reconstruction. Their leader was William Mahone, a former Confederate general who was president of several railroads. The main issue was whether or not to pay off the prewar state debt, which was primarily for stock in infrastructure improvements such as canals, roads, and railroads. By `1865 most of the improvements had been destroyed by war or were located in West Virginia, so the "Readjusters" did not want to pay for them. After his unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1877, Mahone became the leader of the "Readjusters", forming a coalition of conservative Bourbon Democrats with some support from black Republicans. Mahone was a controlling force in Virginia politics from around 1870 until 1883, when the Readjusters lost control to the "Conservative Democrats."
The Readjusters elected its governor (1882-1886) and sent Mahone to the U.S. Senate 1881 to 1887, where he aligned with the Republicans. After the Readjusters collapsed the Democratic Party was to rule the state's politics for the next 80 years.
War, Depression and War, 1913-1950
The Byrd machine dominated state politics from the 1930s to the 1960s. World War II pulled Virginia out of the depression and launched its economic modernization.
Massive Resistance and Modernization, 1950-1975
"Massive resistance" was the Byrd machine response to the Supreme Court's outlawing of segregated schools. Some counties closed their schools and in others legal turmoil lasted for years.
Postmodern State, 1975-present
The recent expansion of government programs in the areas near Washington has profoundly affected the economy of Northern Virginia, and the subsequent growth of defense projects has also generated a local information technology industry. The Hampton Roads region has also experienced much growth.
In 1990, Douglas Wilder became the first African American to be elected as governor since Reconstruction.
- Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion (1971), outdated popular history
- Heinemann, Ronald L., John G. Kolp, Anthony S. Parent Jr., and William G. Shade, Old Dominion, New Commonwealth: A History of Virginia, 1607-2007 (2007). reflects modern scholarship
- Salmon, Emily J., and Edward D.C. Campbell, Jr., eds. The Hornbook of Virginia history: A Ready-Reference Guide to the Old Dominion's People, Places, and Past 4th edition. (1994)
- Tarter, Brent. "Making History in Virginia." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (2007) 115(1): 2-55. Issn: 0042-6636 Fulltext: in . Ebsco; historiography
- Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History (2007). reflects modern scholarship
- WPA. Virginia: A Guide to the Old Dominion (1940)
- Younger, Edward, and James Tice Moore, eds. The Governors of Virginia, 1860– 1978 (1982)
- Adams, Sean Patrick. Old Dominion, Industrial Commonwealth: Coal, Politics, and Economy in Antebellum America (2004)
- Ambler, Charles H. Sectionalism in Virginia from 1776 to 1861 (1910)
- Beeman, Richard R. The Old Dominion and the New Nation, 1788-1801 (1972)
- Billings, Warren M., John E. Selby, and Thad W, Tate. Colonial Virginia: A History (1986)
- Bond, Edward L. Damned Souls in the Tobacco Colony: Religion in Seventeenth-Century Virginia (2000),
- Breen T. H. Puritans and Adventurers: Change and Persistence in Early America (1980). 4 chapters on colonial social history online edition
- Breen, T. H. Tobacco Culture: The Mentality of the Great Tidewater Planters on the Eve of Revolution (1985)
- Breen, T. H., and Stephen D. Innes. "Myne Owne Ground": Race and Freedom on Virginia's Eastern Shore, 1640-1676 (1980)
- Brown, Kathleen M. Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (1996) excerpt and text search
- Byrd, William. The Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover, 1709-1712 (1941) ed by Louis B. Wright and Marion Tinling online edition
- Bruce, Philip Alexander. Institutional History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century: An Inquiry into the Religious, Moral, Educational, Legal, Military, and Political Condition of the People, Based on Original and Contemporaneous Records (1910) online edition
- Freeman, Douglas Southall; George Washington: A Biography Volume: 1-7. (1948). Pulitzer Prize. vol 1 online
- Gleach; Frederic W. Powhatan's World and Colonial Virginia: A Conflict of Cultures (1997).
- Rhys Isaac, Landon Carter's Uneasy Kingdom: Revolution and Rebellion on a Virginia Plantation (2004)
- Isaac, Rhys. The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790 (1982, 1999) Pulitzer Prize winner, dealing with religion and morality online review
- Lebsock, Suzanne D. A Share of Honour: Virginia Women, 1600-1945 (1984)
- Menard, Russell R. "The Tobacco Industry in the Chesapeake Colonies, 1617-1730: An Interpretation." Research In Economic History 1980 5: 109-177. 0363-3268 the standard scholarly study
- Morgan, Edmund S. Virginians at Home: Family Life in the Eighteenth Century (1952). online edition
- Morgan, Edmund S. "Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox." Journal of American History 1972 59(1): 5-29 in JSTOR
- Morgan, Edmund S. American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia (1975) online edition highly influential study
- Nelson, John A Blessed Company: Parishes, Parsons, and Parishioners in Anglican Virginia, 1690-1776 (2001)
- Rasmussen, William M.S. and Robert S. Tilton. Old Virginia: The Pursuit of a Pastoral Ideal (2003)
- Risjord, Norman K. Chesapeake Politics, 1781-1800 (1978). in-depth coverage of Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina online edition
- Roeber, A. G. Faithful Magistrates and Republican Lawyers: Creators of Virginia Legal Culture, 1680-1810 (1981)
- Selby, John E. The Revolution in Virginia, 1775-1783 (1988)
- Rutman, Darrett B., and Anita H. Rutman. A Place in Time: Middlesex County, Virginia, 1650-1750 (1984), new social history
- Shade, William G. Democratizing the Old Dominion: Virginia and the Second Party System 1824-1861 (1996)
- Varon; Elizabeth R. We Mean to Be Counted: White Women & Politics in Antebellum Virginia 1998
- Virginia State Dept. of Education. The Road to Independence: Virginia 1763-1783 online edition; 80pp; with student projects
- Wertenbaker, Thomas J. The Shaping of Colonial Virginia, comprising Patrician and Plebeian in Virginia (1910); Virginia under the Stuarts (1914); and The Planters of Colonial Virginia (1922), well written but outdated
- Wright, Louis B. The First Gentlemen of Virginia: Intellectual Qualities of the Early Colonial Ruling Class (1964)
- Blair, William. Virginia's Private War: Feeding Body and Soul in the Confederacy, 1861-1865 (1998) online edition
- Crofts, Daniel W. Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis (1989)
- Kerr-Ritchie, Jeffrey R. Freedpeople in the Tobacco South: Virginia, 1860-1900 (1999)
- Lebsock, Suzanne D. "A Share of Honor": Virginia Women, 1600-1945 (1984)
- Majewski, John. A House Dividing: Economic Development in Pennsylvania and Virginia before the Civil War (2000)
- Noe, Kenneth W. Southwest Virginia's Railroad: Modernization and the Sectional Crisis (1994)
- Robertson, James I. Civil War Virginia: Battleground for a Nation (1993) 197 pages; excerpt and text search
- Shanks, Henry T. The Secession Movement in Virginia, 1847-1861 (1934) online edition
- Sheehan-Dean, Aaron Charles. Why Confederates fought: family and nation in Civil War Virginia (2007) 291 pages excerpt and text search
- Simpson, Craig M. A Good Southerner: The Life of Henry A. Wise of Virginia (1985), wide-ranging political history
- Wills, Brian Steel. The war hits home: the Civil War in southeastern Virginia (2001) 345 pages; excerpt and text search
- Brundage, W. Fitzhugh. Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880–1930 (1993)
- Buni, Andrew. The Negro in Virginia Politics, 1902–1965 (1967)
- Ferrell, Henry C., Jr. Claude A. Swanson of Virginia: A Political Biography (1985) early 20th century
- Gilliam, George H. "Making Virginia Progressive: Courts and Parties, Railroads and Regulators, 1890–1910." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 107 (Spring 1999): 189–222.
- Heinemann, Ronald L. Depression and the New Deal in Virginia: The Enduring Dominion (1983)
- Heinemann, Ronald L. Harry Byrd of Virginia(1996)
- Heinemann, Ronald L. "Virginia in the Twentieth Century: Recent Interpretations." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 94 (April 1986): 131–60.
- Key, V. O., Jr. Southern Politics in State and Nation (1949), important chapter on Virginia in 1940s
- Lassiter, Matthew D., and Andrew B. Lewis, eds. The Moderates’ Dilemma: Massive Resistance to School Desegregation in Virginia (1998)
- Link, William A. A Hard Country and a Lonely Place: Schooling, Society, and Reform in Rural Virginia, 1870-1920 (1986) online edition
- Martin-Perdue, Nancy J., and Charles L. Perdue Jr., eds. Talk about Trouble: A New Deal Portrait of Virginians in the Great Depression (1996)
- Moger, Allen W. Virginia: Bourbonism to Byrd, 1870-1925 (1968)
- Muse, Benjamin. Virginia's Massive Resistance (1961), education policy in 1950s
- Parramore, Thomas C., with Peter C. Stewart and Tommy L. Bogger. Norfolk: The First Four Centuries (1994)
- Pulley, Raymond H. Old Virginia Restored: An Interpretation of the Progressive Impulse, 1870-1930 (1968) online edition
- Smith, J. Douglas. Managing White Supremacy: Race, Politics, and Citizenship in Jim Crow Virginia (2002) online edition
- Sweeney, James R. "Rum, Romanism, and Virginia Democrats: The Party Leaders and the Campaign of 1928" Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 90 (October 1982): 403–31.
- Wilkinson, J. Harvie, III. Harry Byrd and the Changing Face of Virginia Politics, 1945–1966 (1968)
- Wynes, Charles E. Race Relations in Virginia, 1870-1902 (1961)
Localities and regions
- Lankford, Nelson. Richmond Burning: The Last Days of the Confederate Capital (2002)
- Parramore, Thomas C., with Peter C. Stewart and Tommy L. Bogger. Norfolk: The First Four Centuries (1994)
- Shiftlett, Crandall. Patronage and Poverty in the Tobacco South: Louisa County, Virginia, 1860-1900 (1982), new social history
- Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia
- Duke, Maurice, and Daniel P. Jordan, eds. A Richmond Reader, 1733–1983 (1983)
- Eisenberg, Ralph. Virginia Votes, 1924–1968 (1971), all statistics
- Virginia Historical Society short history of state, with teacher guide
- WPA project: Indians in Virginia
- WPA Project: History of Virginia
- Virginia and the Civil War
- http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/education/projects/webunits/vahistory/tribes.html accessed 10 March 2007
- Spanish Martyrs for Virginia by Matthew M. Anger (30 August 2003)
- Jamestown Settlement, accessed 10 March 2007
- See Wilcomb E. Washburn, Governor and the Rebel: A History of Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia, (1957), by a conservative historian.
- Edmund S. Morgan, "Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox." Journal of American History 1972 59(1): 5-29 in JSTOR; Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia (1975)
- T. H. Breen, "Horses and Gentlemen: The Cultural Significance of Gambling among the Gentry of Virginia." William and Mary Quarterly 1977 34(2): 239-257. in JSTOR
- Irmina Wawrzyczek, "The Women of Accomack Versus Henry Smith: Gender, Legal Recourse, and the Social Order in Seventeenth-Century Virginia," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1997 105(1): 5-26; on patriarchy, see by Kathleen M. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (1996).
- Edward L. Bond, "Source of Knowledge, Source of Power: The Supernatural World of English Virginia, 1607-1624." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 2000 108(2): 105-138. 0042-6636
- Jewel L. Spangler, "Becoming Baptists: Conversion in Colonial and Early National Virginia". Journal of Southern History 2001 67(2): 243-286. online edition
- Paul K. Longmore, "'All Matters and Things Relating to Religion and Morality': The Virginia Burgesses' Committee for Religion, 1769 To 1775." Journal of Church and State 1996 38(4): 775-797.
- Michael L. Nicholls, "Strangers Setting Among Us: The Sources and Challenge of the Urban Free Black Population of Early Virginia". Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 2000 108(2): 155-179. 0042-6636 in JSTOR
- Howard. Bodenhorn, "A Troublesome Caste: Height and Nutrition of Antebellum Virginia's Rural Free Blacks." Journal of Economic History 1999 59(4): 972-996. 0022-0507 in JSTOR