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Traders and Gentlefolk: The Livingstons of New York, 1675-1790
     

Traders and Gentlefolk: The Livingstons of New York, 1675-1790

by Cynthia A. Kierner
 

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Including among their number a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the founder of an ironworks, the Livingstons were a prominent family in the political, economic, and social life of colonial New York. Drawing on a rich array of sources, Cynthia Kierner vividly recreates the history of four generations of Livingstons and sheds new light on the development

Overview

Including among their number a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the founder of an ironworks, the Livingstons were a prominent family in the political, economic, and social life of colonial New York. Drawing on a rich array of sources, Cynthia Kierner vividly recreates the history of four generations of Livingstons and sheds new light on the development of both the elite ideology they represented and of the wider culture of early America.

Although New York's colonial elite have been considered self-interested political intriguers, Kierner contends that the Livingstons idealized gentility and public-spiritedness, industry and morality. She shows how New York's most successful traders became gentlefolk without abandoning their entrepreneurial values, how they forged a distinct culture, and how the Revolution ultimately occasioned the rejection of elite political authority.

Traders and Gentlefolk focuses on the lives of four members of the family: Robert Livingston, a Scottish emigrant who, with his wife Alida Schuyler, attained substantial political influence and acquired Livingston Manor; their son Philip, whose outstanding commercial talents secured his descendants' financial security; Philip's son, William, an outspoken civic leader and energetic supporter of American independence; and Robert R. Livingston, a jurist and diplomat whose aristocratic temperament prevented him from playing a vital role in post-Revolutionary politics.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Including among their number a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the founder of an ironworks, the Livingstons were a prominent family in the political, economic, and social life of colonial New York. Kierner recreates the history of four generations of Livingstons, shedding light on the development both of the elite ideology they represented and of the wider culture of early America. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"In this gracefully written account of four generations of the Livingston family, Kierner . . . documents the metamorphosis of a rich family into a genteel one."—American Historical Review

"Cynthia A. Kierner has produced a marvelous study of New York's Livingston family that shows them both as individuals and as representatives of an Anglo-American gentry that emerged, stabilized, and retreated between the arrival in New York of the first Robert Livingston, in 1675, and the death of his great-grandson, Robert R. Livingston, in 1790. . . . Traders and Gentlefolk is biography the way it should be—informative, illustrative, and entertaining."—New York History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801426384
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
04/01/1992
Pages:
283
Product dimensions:
9.06(w) x 5.91(h) x (d)
Lexile:
1580L (what's this?)

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