Chapter

Land and Freedom, 1844–1846

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/9780195136005.003.0006
Land and Freedom, 1844–1846

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Anti-renters knew that the leasehold system denied them their freedom. What a free society would be like was another matter. As anti-rent lecturers crisscrossed New York's leasehold estates in the fall of 1844, estate residents everywhere entered a long discussion about the kind of freedom they sought. They drew on ideas about property voiced by earlier tenant rebels and sustained by tenants' use of common lands. However, their new economic circumstances led them to transform these traditions. By examining how these legacies changed, one can begin to understand the ways in which leasehold farmers' increasing integration into capitalism shaped their social and political ideals. Agrarian traditions and change in economy were not the only forces to influence the anti-renters' notions of freedom. Whig and Democratic party activists were leasehold tenants' most influential teachers on social and political issues, and anti-renters drew heavily on their ideas and models of organizing.

Keywords: anti-renters; leasehold; freedom; New York; estates; tenants; lands; farmers; capitalism; economy

Chapter.  10437 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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