Kolp, John Gilman 1943-

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KOLP, John Gilman 1943-

PERSONAL: Born 1943. Education: Iowa State University, B.S., M.A.; University of Iowa, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Offıce—U.S. Naval Academy, 121 Blake Rd., Annapolis, MD 21402-5000. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2715 North Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218-4363.

CAREER: Historian and writer. U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, assistant professor of history.


Gentlemen and Freeholders: Electoral Politics in Colonial Virginia, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1998.

SIDELIGHTS: Historian John Gilman Kolp's classes at the U.S. Naval Academy have included studies of colonial and revolutionary America and immigration history. In keeping with his interests, Kolp wrote Gentlemen and Freeholders: Electoral Politics in Colonial Virginia, a volume in two parts that studies electoral politics from 1725 to 1776. In the first section, titled "Provincial Patterns," Kolp draws on diaries, newspapers, letters, and other written documents to create a profile of the political culture of the period. He examines the factors that influenced voting by the adult males who were qualified to vote in elections for Virginia's legislative assembly, the House of Burgesses, touching on topics such as nomination processes, campaigning, polling, and socioeconomic and geographical considerations. In discussing voter frequency, he notes that affluent citizens did not turn out in numbers as great as their less wealthy neighbors. A significant finding is that fewer than nine percent of elections were contested by 1775.

Kolp makes comparisons of election processes in four Virginia counties, including Accomack, Lancaster, Fairfax, and Halifax, in the second section of Gentlemen and Freeholders. One of the notable prerevolution elections was that of George Washington in 1765, when he was elected to represent Fairfax County in the House of Burgesses. Times Literary Supplement reviewer Gwenda Morgan noted that Washington "had done all the right things to get into office. He had become a major landowner, had close social ties to the leading gentry, had won fame as a soldier, and served as a local office-holder." James Homer Williams wrote in History: Review of New Books that "with meticulous analysis of pollbooks and tax records, Kolp is able to quantify electoral patterns [in the colony of Virginia] across five decades and in four distinct counties."



English Historical Review, April, 2001, Peter Thompson, review of Gentlemen and Freeholders: Electoral Politics in Colonial Virginia, p. 486.

History: Review of New Books, summer, 1999, James Homer Williams, review of Gentlemen and Freeholders, p. 156.

Journal of American History, September, 2000, Rebecca Starr, review of Gentlemen and Freeholders, p. 646.

Times Literary Supplement, May 28, 1999, Gwenda Morgan, review of Gentlemen and Freeholders, p. 33.*