Rent Is Too Damn High!

Remember that guy back a few election cycles ago?

That dude with the wild sideburns and ‘stash….remember now?

Good for that has nothing to do with this post.

My regulars know that I like history and try to find unusual evets that your history teacher never had time or inclination to tell you about.

Today it is the “anti-rent movement”……..

In 1839, around the time of the Dorr Rebellion in Rhode Island, the Anti-Renter movement started in New York. It was a protest against the patroonship system, which went back to the l600s when the Dutch ruled New York, a system where a few families, intricately intermarried, controlled the destinies of three hundred thousand people and ruled in almost kingly splendour near two million acres of land while the tenants paid taxes and rents.

By the summer of 1839, the tenants were holding their first mass meeting. The economic crisis of 1837 had filled the area with unemployed seeking land, on top of the layoffs accompanying the completion of the Erie Canal, after the first wave of railroad building ended. That summer the tenants resolved: “We will take up the ball of the Revolution where our fathers stopped it and roll it to the final consummation of freedom and independence of the masses.” Thus, thousands of farmers in Rensselaer country were organised into Anti-Rent associations to prevent the landlords from evicting. They agreed on calico Indian costumes, symbol of the Boston Tea Party and recalling original ownership of the soil. The tin horn represented an Indian call to arms. Soon 10,000 men were trained and ready.  Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs trying to serve writs on farmers were surrounded by calico-clad riders who had been summoned by tin horns sounding in the countryside—then tarred and feathered.

Petitions for an anti-rent bill, signed by 25,000 tenants, were put before the legislature in 1845. The bill was defeated. A kind of guerrilla war resumed in the country, between bands of “Indians” and sheriffs’ posses. Boughton was kept in jail seven months, four and a half months of that in heavy irons, before being released on bail. Fourth of July meetings in 1845 attended by thousands of farmers pledged continued resistance.

The power of the law thus crushed the Anti-Rent Movement. It was intended to make clear that farmers could not win by fighting—that they most confine their efforts to voting, to acceptable methods of reform. In 1845, the Anti-Renters elected fourteen members to the state legislature. Governor Silas Wright asked the legislature to give relief to the tenants and end the feudal system in the Hudson Valley. Proposals to break up the huge estates on the death of the owners were defeated, but the legislature voted to make illegal the selling of tenant property for non-payment of rent. A constitutional convention that year outlawed new feudal leases.

The next governor, elected in 1846 with Anti-Rent support, had promised to pardon the Anti-Rent prisoners, and he did. Throngs of farmers greeted them on their release. Court decisions in the 1850s began to limit the worst features of the manorial system, without changing the fundamentals of landlord-tenant relations.

Howard Zinn has taken a better look into this “movement”……

Howard Zinn’s short history of the Anti-Renter movement against the patroonship system, created in the 1660s when the Dutch ruled New York.

The rich had vast land holdings and the tenants paid taxes and rents. The movement grew to 10,000 men and was finally put down by a cavalry unit of 3,000 who came up from New York City.

In 1839, around the time of the Dorr Rebellion in Rhode Island, when a deputy arrived in the farming area of in the Hudson Valley near Albany, New York, with writs demanding the rent, farmers suddenly appeared, assembled by the blowing of tin horns. They seized his writs and burned them.

https://libcom.org/history/1839-1846-the-anti-renter-movementthat you have a more better look into 19th century America….do you feel smarter?

Learn Stuff!

Class Dissed!

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