“A Right to the Soil”

Reeve Huston

in Land and Freedom

Published in print October 2000 | ISBN: 9780195136005
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848782 | DOI:
“A Right to the Soil”

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In May 1845, as Indians confronted posses and anti-renters began to prepare for the fall elections, Thomas Devyr broke into open conflict with the Whig and Hunker allies of the anti-renters. The breach between Devyr and his opponents brought two unresolved disputes into the open: the proper basis of property in land, and the anti-renters' relationship to the major parties. This conflict reinforced the lessons learned in the battle over the “Indians” and in the anti-renters' efforts in the legislature and the constitutional convention. Leasehold militants had learned that well-organized popular movements could win a measure of power in politics and could change policy and political discourse, but could do so only by being transformed themselves. The growing struggle over politics and property rights replicated that dialectic, changing both the anti-rent movement and the ideology and policies of the tenants' allies.

Keywords: Indians; anti-renters; Thomas Devyr; Whig; allies; land; leasehold; politics; anti-rent movement; tenants

Chapter.  5931 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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