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

Overview

In Columbia Rising, Bancroft Prize-winning historian John 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—kingpin of New York's ...

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

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Overview

In Columbia Rising, Bancroft Prize-winning historian John 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—kingpin of New York's Jacksonian "Regency," president of the United States, and first theoretician of American party politics—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 masterfully imbues local history with national significance, and his analysis of the revolutionary settlement as a dynamic and unstable compromise over the balance of power offers an ideal window on a local struggle that mirrored the nationwide effort to define American citizenship.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A masterful work. . . . Brooke's research is impressive."—Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians

"Through their impeccable scholarship, Levine and Wilson effectively locate Whitfield as a significant figure. . . . A valuable resource for engaging with and rethinking nineteenth-century African American literary thought in order to include James M. Whi

"This is a work sure to provoke a reexamination of the early republic's notions of citizenship, consent, and social membership, and the legacy of the American Revolution."—Journal of American History

"A welcome contribution to the cultural history of the early American republic."—Essays In History

"Inspiring . . . . Brooke's book will hopefully provide a framework for future scholars to test as they seek to understand the process by which Americans moved from the crisis of Revolution to the establishment of a relatively stable political system."—

"Brooke's magisterial command of the lives of a host of characters, some obscure and others not so obscure, makes for compelling reading."—William and Mary Quarterly

"An important contribution to our ongoing effort to understand nation-building at the turn of the eighteenth century. It offers crucial lessons for the present as well."—American Historical Review

"This grand work peels back the layers of the troubled and very long 'Revolutionary settlement' in New York's Columbia County. . . . Brooke has made the opaque brilliant and, in the process, highlighted useful interpretive frameworks for scholars of early

"In remarkable detail, Brooke mines the archives to balance his portrait between the perspectives of the wealthy landowners . . . and the disenfranchised. . . . Will be valuable to students of history and political theory and others interested in America'

Library Journal
The American republic in its early years was a turbulent and unstable place. Just a few decades after the Revolution, leaders such as New York's Martin Van Buren, later to be the eighth President, were already worrying about the erosion of "all men are created equal," because of the aristocracy's use of the public sphere to further its own means. Brooke (history, Ohio State Univ.) considers this situation through the lens of life in Columbia County, NY, Van Buren's home in the upper Hudson River valley between about 1785 and 1831, where sometimes violent struggles over land and the rights of poor whites and of African Americans shaped Van Buren's early career and later politics. In remarkable detail, Brooke mines the archives to balance his portrait between the perspectives of the wealthy landowners, such as the Livingston family, seeking to consolidate their power, and the disenfranchised, fighting for their place in society. VERDICT While some readers may shy away from the narrow focus and academic tone, this book will be valuable to students of history and political theory and others interested in America's early days.—Elizabeth Goldman, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

John L. Brooke is Humanities Distinguished Professor of History at Ohio State University. He has won the Bancroft Prize for The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

List of Illustrations and Tables

Prologue: Consent and Civil Society in the Age of Revolution 1

1 The Revolutionary Crisis of Consent, 1775-1783 13

I THE REVOLUTIONARY SETTLEMENT

2 Conflict and Civil Establishments, 1783-1793 47

3 Deliberation and Civil Procedure, 1787-1795 95

4 Persuasion and Civil Boundaries, 1780s-1790s 117

II EXTENDING THE SETTLEMENT

5 Land Politics in Columbia, 1781-1804 171

6 Boundaries, Sympathies, and the Settlement, 1785-1800 228

III POLITICS AND EXCLUSIONS

7 Party and Corruption: The Columbia Junto and the Rise of Martin Van Buren, 1799-1812 283

8 Female Interventions 342

9 Race, Property, and Civil Exclusions, 1800-1821 382

10 Jacksonian Columbia 430

APPENDIX

Dramatis Personae 475

Note on County Sources 484

List of Abbreviations and Short Titles 489

Notes 491

Index 599

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