Anti-Renter Movement: 1839-1852


Background

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The Anti-Renter Movement was a series of strikes regarding the tenant farmer system in the 19th century. A tenant farmer was a person that worked and resided on land owned by a landlord. At first the relationship seemed harmless, but as the system went on many landlords were abusing their rights over the tenants. It became very easy for the land owners to control aspects of the tenant farmer's life, such as purchase and work hours. Many of the landlords were stopping the tenants from moving from lower to middle class. The tenants felt as though they should not be living under the conditions that they dealt with. Their hostility towards the landlords eventually led to rebellion.


Anti-Renter War

This was not exactly a war, it was a series of strikes aimed at sending a message. The movement started with the death of Stephen Van Renssalaer lll. His family had over 80,000 tenants. Many of these farmers were experiencing economic hardships, so once the ring leader died they decided to take a stand. Tenant farmers rose up dressed as Indians and declared war on the wealthy landowners. Tensions rose for many years. Conflicts began between sheriffs and the farmers. One of the largest parts of the war was when a sheriff was killed. Once the war ended, the anti-renter party emerged. This party believed that men should all have equal rights regardless of race or financial situation. However the party quickly died out and most members did not go on in politics.


Relevance to Labor and Industry

This movement was different from many others regarding the theme because it happened in a rural setting. It demonstrates that workers deserve rights under every condition, not just in factories. It broadens the spectrum of industry in the 19th century.



(only first 5 minutes of video are useful)