The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 240

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

the editor is to be commended by all students of Civil War history.
Mississippi State College
William Blount. By William H. Masterson. Baton Rouge (Louis-
iana State University Press), 1954. Pp. 352. Illustrations,
map. $6.oo.
Professor Masterson of Rice Institute has contributed this
volume to the Southern Biography Series. The study is based on
a broad mass of materials, both in print and in manuscript; it is
well planned and agreeably written. There is much more to
Blount than his conspiracy, which is the episode by which he is
best known. He had, as Professor Masterson makes clear, two
careers, and each had two aspects. In his old home, North Carolina,
he was business man and politician; in the home of his later
days, 'Tennessee, he was politician and business man. The author
lays bare the springs that drove Blount to add dollar to dollar and
acre to acre, and shows that his office-holding was entered into
in order the better to serve his business purposes. Blount began as
a merchant and soon took to land purchases and land speculation.
He became an operator on a scale truly gigantic, and at his peak
owned (or was interested in) a million acres, and had estab-
lished international connections through which he hoped to
unload portions of his speculative ventures. His grandiose ambi-
tions overshot the mark, and he died, an expelled Senator, and
a gravely endangered man of property.
Blount was, as Professor Masterson convincingly shows, in-
herently a conservative, a friend to order and stability and prop-
erty. He naturally acted with the Federalists; Washington ap-
pointed him governor of the territory south of the river Ohio.
The pressure of events there slowly drove him into the rival
political camp. The stages in this delicate transition from Fed-
eralism to Jeffersonianism are made psychologically clear and
credible by the author.
Blount's circle in Tennessee carried on some of his ambitions.
Though his era was over with his death in i8oo, "Yet his work
was of importance, and his influence was vital alike in the history
of his state and in the lives of three governors and a President-


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. ( accessed January 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.