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Columbia Rising

Civil Life on the Upper Hudson from the Revolution to the Age of Jackson

John L. Brooke

Publication Year: 2013

Brooke explores the struggle within the young American nation over the extension of social and political rights after the Revolution. By closely examining the formation and interplay of political structures and civil institutions in the upper Hudson Valley, Brooke traces the debates over who should fall within and outside of the legally protected category of citizen. The story of Martin Van Buren threads the narrative, since his views profoundly influenced American understandings of consent and civil society and led to the birth of the American party system. Brooke's analysis of the revolutionary settlement as a dynamic and unstable compromise over the balance of power offers a window to a local struggle that mirrored the nationwide effort to define American citizenship.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Series: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-x


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p. xi-xi

Illustrations & Tables

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pp. xii-xvi

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pp. 1-12

The American revolution may prove the most important step in the progressive course of human improvement. It is an event which may produce a general diffusion of the principles of humanity, and become the means of setting free mankind from the shackles of superstition and tyranny, by leading them to see that “nothing is fundamental but...

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1: The Revolutionary Crisis of Consent 1775–1783

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pp. 13-44

The Declaration of Independency proceeded upon a Supposition that the Constitution under which we before lived was actually dissolved and the British Governmt here as such totally annihilated. Upon this Principle we must have been reduced to a State of Nature, in which the Power of Government reverted to as they Originated from the...

I: The Revolutionary Settlement

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2: Conflict and Civil Establishments1783–1793 

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pp. 47-94

As Martin Van Buren and Hannah Goes entered early childhood in the mid- 1780s, the public face of their upper Hudson world was changing in fundamental ways, literally leading the state into Alexis de Tocqueville’s America. A new civil landscape was taking shape, layered onto and competing with...

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3: Deliberation and Civil Procedure 1787–1795 

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pp. 95-116

It was a damp day in June 1792 when three companies of the Kinderhook militia mustered at a tavern in the Pomponick neighborhood, going through a few drills before the rain began to pelt down. As the men and spectators from Kinderhook and Canaan took shelter, an officer from another company arrived...

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4: Persuasion and civil boundaries 1780s–1790s

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pp. 117-168

To the Public. Theophilus Vosburgh, having in the Hudson Gazette of the 2nd instant, represented to the public, that I the subscriber his wife had eloped from him, and thereby forbidding all persons to trust me; I have been induced to inform the public in my turn; that true it is I have left his place of abode; I did it from no other motive than...

II: Extending the Settlement

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5: Land Politics in Columbia 1781–1804

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pp. 171-227

I John J. Acmodrey testify That in the Fall of the year 1786 I was in company with Dr. Hamilton of Hudson and Ethan Allen, when they conversed about the affairs of Wyoming; and they both explicitly declared it was the design of them and their associates to. . . . erect a new State. . . . Afterwards I was at Hillsdale and heard Doctor...

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6: Boundaries, Sympathies, and the Settlement 1785–1800

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pp. 226-280

I have nothing very material to write you at Present, I must however inform you that a Bill has passed the House of Assembly yesterday for the Gradual abolition of Slavery. . . . The Greatest objection I have to the bill, is that the expences arising on such as are to [be] Liberated by this bill, is to be Defrayed By a partial tax....

III: Politics and Exclusions

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7: Party and Corruption

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pp. 283-341

Though he remembered it slightly differently a half century later, Martin Van Buren was about two months shy of his nineteenth birthday when he was sent from Kinderhook to the Republican meeting of electors in Troy in September 1801. He had already lived a life steeped in politics. His father’s tavern, where...

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8: Female Interventions

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pp. 342-381

On November 23, 1802, the Hudson Balance, and Columbian Repository closed a six-month series, “Education,” with an appeal that “the fair daughters of Columbia . . . co-operate in supporting and perpetuating the national independence.” The author, Senex, was certain that “on the purity of their...

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9: Race, Property, and Civil Exclusions1800–1821

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pp. 382-429

Among the blessings which a moderate portion of property confers, the right of suffrage is conspicuous: and the attainment of this right holds out a strong inducement to that industry and economy, which are the life of society. If you bestow on the idle and profligate the privileges which should be purchased only by industry, frugality, and character...

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10: Jacksonian Columbia

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pp. 430-474

Few if any of the associations which daily spring up amongst us . . . do not, [as if ] by an apparent law of their nature, ally themselves with the dynasty of associated wealth in attempting to defeat, by their united efforts, the end and aim of our free institutions by making the few masters over the many. Thus acquiring in this happy land by indirection...


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pp. 475-488

Abbreviations and Short Titles

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pp. 489-490


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pp. 491-598


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pp. 599-629

E-ISBN-13: 9781469600949
E-ISBN-10: 1469600943
Print-ISBN-13: 9781469609737
Print-ISBN-10: 1469609738

Page Count: 648
Illustrations: 16 illus.
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia