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Past historians have situated the Regulator conflict in largely economic or social terms. James Whittenburg and others claim that at the time of the Regulation, a new and vast social division was present in backcountry society. The established backcountry settlers-the agrarian, yeoman farmers of Hermon Husbands' ilk-resented their recent displacement by mercantile and political interests. The Regulation, then, simply "crystallized widespread anxiety over the swift economic and political changes taking place in the piedmont." The Regulators used fleeting issues of the moment to rectify their lessening influence in North Carolina. Rachel Klein similarly argues in Unification of a Slave State that the Regulators were trying to conserve their political clout and economic opportunities, and consequently were "something less than radical social critics." The Regulator Rebellion, Whittenburg and Klein claim, was undertaken to ensure backcountry agrarian interests.



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