History of New York

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This article is about the history of New York State.
For a history of the city see: History of New York City.

New York, the "Empire State" has been at the center of American politics, finance, industry, transportation and culture since it was created by the Dutch in the 17th century.


[edit] Origin

The Dutch, who began to establish trading-posts on the Hudson River in 1613, claimed jurisdiction over the territory between the Connecticut and the Delaware Rivers, which they called New Netherlands. The government was vested in "The United New Netherland Company," chartered in 1616, and then in "The Dutch West India Company," chartered in 1621.

The Dutch were the first European settlers in the colony known as New Netherland. Fort Nassau was founded near the site of present-day Albany in 1614 and abandoned in 1618. About thirty Walloon families settled on the shores of the Hudson River in present-day New York City and on the Delaware River around 1624. The Dutch also established Fort Orange near present-day Albany in 1624. New Amsterdam was established on the island of Manhattan which a year later Peter Minuit purchased from the Lenape. After the English took over in 1664, the colony was renamed New York, after the Duke of York, the future King James II.

In 1649, a convention of the settlers petitioned the "Lords States-General of the United Netherlands" to grant them "suitable burgher government," such as their High Mightinesses shall consider adapted to this province, and resembling somewhat the government of our Fatherland," with certain permanent privileges and exemptions, that they might pursue "the trade of our country, as well along the coast from Terra Nova to Cape Florida as to the West Indies and Europe, whenever our Lord God shall be pleased to permit."

  • The directors of the West India Company resented this attempt to shake off their rule, and wrote their director and council at New Amsterdam: "We have already connived as much as possible at the many impertinences of some restless spirits, in the hope that they might be shamed by our discreetness and benevolence, but, perceiving that all kindnesses do not avail, we must, therefore, have recourse to God to Nature and the Law. We accordingly hereby charge and command your Honors whenever you shall certainly discover any Clandestine Meetings, Conventicles or machinations against our States government or that of our country that you proceed against such malignants in proportion to their crimes."

These grants embraced all the lands between the west bank of the Connecticut River and the east bank of (the) Delaware.

The Duke of York had previously purchased in 1663 the grant of Long Island and other islands on the New England coast made in 1635 to the Earl of Stirling, and in 1664 he equipped an armed expedition which took possession of New Amsterdam which was thenceforth called New York. This conquest was confirmed by the treaty of Credo, in July 1667. In July 1673, a Dutch fleet recaptured New York and held it until it was restored to the English by the Treaty of Westminster in February 1674. The second grant was obtained by the Duke of York in July 1674 to perfect his title.

[edit] Westward expansion

The western part of New York had been settled by the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy for at least 500 years before Europeans came. The Iroquois had maintained the area between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes by annual burning as a grassland prairie, abounding in wild game including grazing American Bison herds. In colonial times, the Iroquois were prosperous, growing corn, vegetables and orchards, and keeping cows and hogs; fish and game were abundant.

The colonial charter of New York granted unlimited westward expansion. Massachusetts' charter had the same provision, causing territorial disputes between the colonies and with the Iroquois.

On November 1, 1683, the government was reorganized into a pattern still followed, and the state was divided into twelve counties, each of which was subdivided into towns. Ten of those counties still exist (see below), but two (Cornwall and Dukes) were in territory purchased by the Duke of York from the Earl of Sterling, and are no longer within the territory of the State of New York, having been transferred by treaty to Massachusetts, Dukes in 1686 and Cornwall in 1692. While the number of counties has been increased to 62, the pattern still remains that a town in New York State is a subdivision of a county, similar to New England.

[edit] Upstate New York

Upstate New York (as well as parts of present Ontario, Quebec, Pennsylvania, and Ohio) was occupied by the Five Nations (after 1720 becoming Six Nations, when joined by Tuscarora ) of the Iroquois Confederacy for at least a half millennium before the Europeans came. At the onset of the Revolutionary War, there lay a vast tract of land from the upper Mohawk River to Lake Erie, that was thinly occupied by the Iroquois and virtually unknown to the colonists. Since the colonial charters of both Massachusetts and New York granted unlimited westward expansion, the claim to this tract was disputed. There were also many tensions between the original Dutch settlers in the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys and the English who were rapidly arriving in Eastern New York, and the Germans who were also establishing settlements in the Mohawk area.

Upstate New York was also the scene of fighting during the French and Indian War, with British and French forces contesting control of Lake Champlain in association with Native American allies.

During the period prior to the American Revolution, a territorial dispute developed between New York and the Republic of Vermont that continued until after the war. Ultimately, the colonial counties of Cumberland and Gloucester became part of Vermont after 1777.

The British government appointed the governors of the Province of New York; they were not elected. They are listed at List of colonial governors of New York

[edit] Early National Period: 1783-1820

After a furious battle, led by Alexander Hamilton, New York ratified the new federal United States Constitution, on July 26, 1788, and New York City became the national capital (until 1790).

[edit] The Erie Canal

Main article: Erie Canal

Roads were poor and very slow. The easiest and cheapest travel was by waterway. Ships could navigate up the Hudson to Albany. The Mohawk river opened the central part of the state. From 1807 there was much talk of building a canal system. Governor DeWitt Clinton became the chief sponsor, and in 1817 the first portion of a canal was begun, to connect the Hudson River with Lake Erie (and thence to the rest of the Great Lakes). The easy part was built first, a series of bypasses of rapids on the Mohawk River.

Though there was opposition, and the canal was derisively called "Clinton's Ditch" or worse, "Clinton's Folly," the canal was finally completed in 1825. Officially the event was celebrated by cannon shots along the length, and by Governor Clinton ceremonially pouring Lake Erie water into the New York Harbor in the "Wedding of the Waters." The Erie Canal proved to be a stroke of genius, as settlers now poured from New England, Eastern New York and Europe into the central and western part of the state. Others went on to Ohio and Michigan. The Canal was the first serious route for settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains, which had previously been a geographic barrier. Now upstate farms and industries could easily ship their products to the large and growing market of New York City and beyond. Had the Welland Canal, which bypassed Niagara Falls to connect Lakes Ontario and Erie, been built first, instead of in 1833, the history of North America could have been far different, with Montreal, Quebec becoming the main eastern port, instead of New York City.

The Erie Canal, though no longer so important a trade route (it is supplanted by railroads and highways) still defines the central commerce belt of New York State. The port city of Buffalo, Lockport, where the canal crossed a great limestone ridge, mill-town and beautiful 'Flower City' Rochester on the Genessee, and many smaller cities owe their growth, perhaps even their existence, to the Erie. Connecting canals were also built to Lake Ontario and the larger Finger Lakes.

[edit] Settlement of Northern New York

In 1791, Alexander Macomb, who had gotten rich as a merchant in the American Revolution, bought 3,670,715 acres (14,855 km2) of northern New York at about twelve cents an acre. The tract, that ran along the St. Lawrence River and eastern Lake Ontario, including the Thousand Islands, was divided into ten large townships; the deeds for all the lands that are now included in Lewis, Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, as well as portions of Herkimer and Oswego Counties are derived from this purchase. The land was divided into townships because the government wanted money so they charged the people for the land. These townships were divided even further into sections because they were how they sold the land. The sections were like units in the township.

See also the history of the Adirondacks.

[edit] Empire state industrializes: 1820-1920

[edit] Erie Canal and Economic Growth

[edit] Civil War

[edit] Gilded Age

[edit] Progressive Era

[edit] Modern State: 1920-1975

[edit] Boom Years: 1920-1929

[edit] Depression and War 1929-1945

[edit] Suburban Growth

[edit] Politics: Smith, Lehman, Dewey, Rockefeller

[edit] Postmodern State: 1976-2006

[edit] Rustbelt Economy

[edit] Service Economy

[edit] Recent Politics

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] Surveys

  • Eisenstadt, Peter, Laura-Eve Moss, and Carole F. Huxley, eds. The Encyclopedia Of New York State (2005) 1900 pages of articles by experts.
  • Ellis, David M., James A. Frost, Harold C. Syrett, and Harry J. Carman. A History of New York State. Rev. ed. Cornell University Press, 1967.
  • Ellis, David M., James A. Frost, and William B. Fink. New York: The Empire State . 4th ed. Prentice-Hall, 1975.
  • Flick, Alexander C. (ed.). History of the State of New York. 10 vol, 1933–37
  • Hedrick, U.P. A History of Agriculture in the State of New York (1983)
  • Jackson, Kenneth T. ed, The Encyclopedia of New York City (1995)
  • Klein, Milton M., ed. The Empire State: A History of New York. Cornell University Press, 2001. the latest scholarly overview
  • Thompson, J. H. ed., The Geography of New York State (rev. ed. 1977);

[edit] Pre 1820

  • Becker, Carl Becker. The History of Political Parties in the Province of New York, 1760-1776. (1909).
  • Bonomi, Patricia U. A Factious People: Politics and Society in Colonial New York. 1971.
  • Countryman, Edward. A People In Revolution: The American Revolution and Political Society in New York, 1760-1790. 1981.
  • DePauw, Linda. The Eleventh Pillar: New York State and the Federal Constitution. Cornell Univ. Press, 1966.
  • Fox, Dixon Ryan. The Decline of the Aristocracy in the Politics of New York. Columbia Univ. Press, 1919.
  • Kammen, Michael. Colonial New York: A History. 1975.
  • Kenney, Alice P. Stubborn for Liberty: The Dutch in New York.Syracuse University Press, 1975.
  • Kim, Sung Bok, Landlord and Tennant in Colonial New York: Manorial Society 1664-1775 (1978)
  • McManus, Edgar J - A History of Negro Slavery in New York (1966)
  • Spaulding, E. Wilder. New York in the Critical Period, 1781-1789. Columbia Univ. Press, 1932.
  • Young, Alfred F. The Democratic Republicans of New York: The Origins, 1763-1797. U. of North Carolina Press, 1967.

[edit] 1820-1920

  • Martin Bruegel. Farm, Shop, Landing: The Rise of a Market Society in the Hudson Valley, 1780-1860 (2002)
  • Cross, Whitney R. The Burned Over District: The Social and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York, 1800-1850 (1950)
  • Kaminski, John P. George Clinton: Yeoman Politician of the New Republic (1993)
  • Niven, John. Martin Van Buren: The Romantic Age of American Politics (1983)
  • Shaw, Ronald E. Erie Water West : a history of the Erie Canal, 1792-1854. (University of Kentucky Press, 1966)
  • Van Dusen, Glyndon, William Henry Seward (1967)
  • Yellowitz, Irwin. Labor and the Progressive Movement in New York State, 1897-1916. [1965].

[edit] 1920-2006

  • Bellush, Bernard; Franklin D. Roosevelt as Governor of New York (1955) online
  • Connery, Robert H. and Gerald Benjamin. Governing New York State: The Rockefeller Years, (1974) online.
  • Davis Kenneth S. FDR: The New York Years, 1928-1933. 1979.
  • Galie, Peter J.; Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York (1996)
  • Gallagher, Jay. The Politics of Decline, A Chronicle of New York's Descent and What You Can Do To Save Your State (2005), conservative critique
  • Ingalls, Robert P. Herbert H. Lehman and New York's Little New Deal (1975)
  • Liebschutz, Sarah F., Robert W. Bailey, Jeffrey M. Stonecash, Joseph F. Zimmerman, and Jane Shapiro Zacek; New York Politics & Government: Competition and Compassion (1998) textbook online
  • McClelland, Peter D., and Alan L. Magdovitz, Crisis in the Making: The Political Economy of New York State since 1945 (1981)
  • McElvaine Robert S. Mario Cuomo: A Biography. 1988.
  • Marlin, George J. Squandered Opportunities: New York's Pataki Years (2006) by Conservative party activist
  • Moscow Warren. Politics in the Empire State. 1948.
  • Munger Frank J., and Ralph A. Straitz. New York Politics. 1960.
  • Mumpower,Jeryl L., and Warren F. Ilchman, New York State in the Year 2000 (1988)
  • New York State Writers' Program; New York: A Guide to the Empire State (1940) famous guidebook by WPA online
  • Pecorella, Robert F., and Jeffrey M. Stonecash. Governing New York State (2006)
  • Slayton, Robert A. Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith (2001)
  • Smith, Richard Norton. Thomas E. Dewey and His Times. 1982,
  • Stonecash, Jeffrey M., John K. White, and Peter W. Colby, eds., Governing New York State (1994)
  • Thompson, John Henry. The Geography of New York State (1977)
  • Zeller, Belle; Pressure Politics in New York: A Study of Group Representation before the Legislature (1937) online

[edit] External links

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History of New York

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