The Landed Interest
LIKE the business community, the landed proprietors constituted a recognizable economic group whose influence was apparent in the sphere of government. The Board of Proprietors of East Jersey and the Council of Proprietors of West Jersey, although weakened in personnel and prestige by the Revolution, still were composed of individuals whose political weight was commensurate with the large stake that they had in society. Both groups demonstrated their vitality in the postwar years and adapted themselves to the altered political situation. Their future was not promising, however, for their residual holdings were but a fraction of what they had once been and new types of enterprise were soon to reduce the relative importance of landed wealth. Too, their political effectiveness was lessened because the two bodies for many years engaged in a bitter rivalry for legislative favor instead of combining their forces behind common objectives.
Throughout the colonial period the proprietors had occupied positions of leadership in determining the course of