Land and Freedom: Rural Society, Popular Protest, and Party Politics in Antebellum New York

By Reeve Huston | Go to book overview

Chapter 9
FREE LABOR

A Class Destroyed

In 1895, a small army of carpenters and teamsters converged upon the Van Rensselaer Manor House at Watervliet, dismantled it, and carted it off. One group took the great entrance hall, with its hand-painted wallpaper from the eighteenth century, to the new Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Another hauled the main body of the house over the Tagkhanic mountains to Williams College, where it became the new home of the Sigma Phi fraternity. 1 The workmen left the wings standing on the grounds, for they were no longer inhabitable.

No Van Rensselaer was present to see the house dismantled. Once the architectural embodiment of their wealth and power, the house had been uninhabited for more than 15 years. In the meantime, its former glories had been surpassed by financiers' and manufacturers' homes in Albany and Troy. The fading grandeur of the house mirrored the declining fortunes of the owners. By the time that the Court of Appeals vindicated his title to the West Manor in 1852, Stephen Van Rensselaer was already near bankruptcy. Together, the anti-renters'13-year boycott and the state's suits to recover the manor had brought him to the brink of ruin. His brother William's fortunes were even more hopeless. By 1848 his debts totaled half a million dollars, and he was forced to sign his lands, his manor house at Bath, and his yet-to-becompleted game park over to trustees. 2

To make matters worse, the anti-renters continued to hound the Van Rensselaers in court, foiling their hope to wrest more income from their estates. Worse still, they won a decision which significantly diminished the value of the brothers' property. In 1852, tenants' lawyers began to argue that, since all lands in the state were allodial, perpetual “leases” were not leases at all but grants of land. The original settlers and their successors were not “tenants” at all, but the owners of the land, subject to rents and reservations. Thus, the lawyers argued, the quarter sale was “repugnant to the estate in fee granted”

-195-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Land and Freedom: Rural Society, Popular Protest, and Party Politics in Antebellum New York
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 291

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.