Chapter

Landlords and Tenants, 1785–1820

Reeve Huston

in Land and Freedom

Published in print October 2000 | ISBN: 9780195136005
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848782 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195136005.003.0002
Landlords and Tenants, 1785–1820

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Beginning in the late 1780s, New York became a meeting ground between two groups, with two sets of beliefs regarding the distribution of land, the structure of class relations, and the contours of freedom. Rensselaerwyck was one of several tenanted estates inherited from the colonial period, each of them stark social and political hierarchies based on a single family's control of the land. The expansion of these estates after the Revolution brought new settlers, many of whom had come to question such subordination during the Revolution. This chapter discusses how landlords offered tenants a wide variety of assistance during the early years of settlement. Stephen Van Rensselaer subsidized the building of community institutions on his estate by hiring schoolmasters, donating land and building materials to churches, and waiving the rent on ministers' farms.

Keywords: New York; land; class relations; freedom; Rensselaerwyck; estates; Revolution; landlords; tenants; Stephen Van Rensselaer

Chapter.  14013 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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