By Reeve Huston
Through the early nineteenth-century, million acres of latest York's farmland have been managed by means of a handful of serious households. alongside the Hudson Valley and around the Catskills lay the good estates of the Van Rensselaers, the Livingstons, and a dozen lesser landlords. a few 200 and sixty thousand males, girls, and children-a 12th of the inhabitants of recent York, the nation's so much populous state-worked this land as tenants. starting in 1839, those tenants created a stream devoted to destroying the estates and dispensing the land to those that farmed it. The "anti-rent" circulate fast turned probably the most strong and influential routine of the antebellum period. The anti-renters raised matters that lay on the middle of America's republican scan: the distribution of land, the character of democracy, and the which means of freedom. In doing so, they left an indelible mark on politics and public beliefs in either manhattan and the state. They encouraged and bitterly divided either significant political events, and helped create the Republican social gathering. furthermore, they formed the guidelines, rules, and careers of such nationwide leaders as Martin Van Buren, Silas Wright, Horace Greeley, and William Seward. Deftly interweaving an attractive narrative historical past with broad-ranging social and political research, Land and Freedom brings to lifestyles the voices of antebellum northern farmers as they debated the severe social and political problems with their day. It grounds these debates in an in depth research of social and political switch on New York's estates, and demonstrates the effect of farmers' principles and projects at the broader social and political order. In doing so, it deals new insights into the social and political considered northeastern farmers, the level and boundaries of renowned political energy less than the Jacksonian political order, and the social origins of free-labor ideology and the Republican occasion.
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Additional resources for Land and Freedom: Rural Society, Popular Protest, and Party Politics in Antebellum New York
And he peeled hemlock bark for four days. Finally, he set his hogs loose in the woods during the summer and fall, where they fed them26 land and freedom selves on acorns and other mast. ” But as one observer noted, unrestricted cutting caused “the waste and destruction of . . immense quantit[ies] of timber” and dramatically reduced the value of estate lands. After the Revolution, proprietors sought to end tenant timbering on the commons. Stephen Van Rensselaer and landlords in Delaware County forbade the practice entirely.
18 Attracting settlers posed another set of challenges. Migrants wanted fertile land, and they wanted it free and clear. Landlords offered neither. Most were unwilling to sell their lands outright, and the majority of available land lay in the hills above the Hudson Valley and in the foothills of the Catskills, where soils were thinner and growing seasons shorter than on valley lands. Proprietors overcame these handicaps in three ways. First, they offered men of substance large farms at bargain prices as an inducement to settle.
Consequently, few landlords could control elections in any single town or county. Their agents and allies, on the other hand, enjoyed considerable inﬂuence. 50 The county’s swing to the Republican camp in 1802 ended Foote’s domination, but landlords retained a strong measure of inﬂuence. During the ﬁrst two decades of the nineteenth century, proprietors’ agents, lawyers, and relatives ﬁlled 16 percent (19 of 124) of the county’s assembly and congressional seats and terms as sheriff and county judge.