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Land and FreedomRural Society, Popular Protest, and Party Politics in Antebellum New York$
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Reeve Huston

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195136005

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195136005.001.0001

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“A Right to the Soil”

“A Right to the Soil”

(p.162) (p.163) Chapter 7 “A Right to the Soil”
Land and Freedom

Reeve Huston

Oxford University Press

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

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