The Parties and “the People,” 1844–1846

Reeve Huston

in Land and Freedom

Published in print October 2000 | ISBN: 9780195136005
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848782 | DOI:
The Parties and “the People,” 1844–1846

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Since 1840, the anti-renters had known that winning freedom required access to the power of the state. Although their early attempts to enlist the government in their cause had failed, their newfound strength after 1844 gave them a far better chance at success. The parties and tenants belonged to distinct but overlapping subcultures in politics, with different social ideals, conflicting political practices, and incompatible definitions of “democracy.” Whigs and Democrats did not simply represent tenants' views, nor did they simply coopt and silence them. Instead, their relationship with militants was a dialectical one, marked by conflict and reciprocal influence. This relationship, moreover, contained the seeds of change. Between 1845 and 1846, anti-renters, Whigs, and Democrats began a process that would transform both popular politics on the estates and party politics throughout New York.

Keywords: anti-renters; freedom; government; parties; tenants; politics; democracy; Whigs; Democrats; New York

Chapter.  13721 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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