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The Nature of the FutureAgriculture, Science, and Capitalism in the Antebellum North$
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Emily Pawley

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226693835

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226693972.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 25 July 2021

Capitalist Aristocracy

Capitalist Aristocracy

Chapter:
(p.23) 1 Capitalist Aristocracy
Source:
The Nature of the Future
Author(s):

Emily Pawley

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226693972.003.0002

Chapter 1 examines the first phase of improvement in New York: a project of New York’s class of large landlords and developers. It argues that, far from longing for a lost feudalism, landlords aspired to the status of British aristocratic agricultural modernizers whose status had been expanding across the 18th and into the early 19th century. The chapter traces New York landlords’ involvement in improvement, showing how they established new institutions of agricultural science, commissioning geological surveys, as part of a broader developmental move into seized Haudenosaunee lands. It then shows how, just as the institutions they had established took off, major landlords’ power collapsed in the face of failed speculations and tenant resistance in the Anti-Rent War. Radical tenants, participating in a tradition of British agrarian radicalism, used agricultural fairs as political opportunities and took up improving arguments in their own defense, breaking landlords’ hold over improving institutions.

Keywords:   agricultural improvement, landlordism, Anti-Rent War, agrarian radicalism, agricultural history

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