Farm, Shop, Landing: The Rise of a Market Society in the Hudson Valley, 1780–1860
At the turn of the nineteenth century, when the word “capital” first found its way into the vocabulary of mid-Hudson Valley residents, the term irrevocably marked the profound change that had transformed the region from an inward-looking, rural community into a participant in an emerging market economy. In Farm, Shop, Landing Martin Bruegel turns his attention to the daily lives of merchants, artisans, and farmers who lived and worked along the Hudson River in the decades following the American Revolution to explain how the seeds of capitalism were spread on rural U.S. soil.
Combining theoretical rigor with extensive archival research, Bruegel’s account diverges from other historiographies of nineteenth-century economic development. It challenges the assumption that the coexistence of long-distance trade, private property, and entrepreneurial activity lead to one inescapable outcome: a market economy either wholeheartedly embraced or entirely rejected by its members. When Bruegel tells the story of farmer William Coventry struggling in the face of bad harvests, widow Mary Livingston battling her tenants, blacksmith Samuel Fowks perfecting the cast-iron plough, and Hannah Bushnell sending her butter to market, Bruegel shows that the social conventions of a particular community, and the real struggles and hopes of individuals, actively mold the evolving economic order. Ultimately, then, Farm, Shop, Landing suggests that the process of modernization must be understood as the result of the simultaneous and often contentious interplay of social and economic spheres.
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Abner Austin acres agricultural Albany Alexander Coventry Diary American Ann-Janette Dubois April artisans Austerlitz beneﬁted bushels Catskill Messenger Catskill Recorder Census Census for 1850 colchs Columbia and Greene Columbia County countryside Coventry’s Coxsackie Crèvecoeur diﬀerent Dutchess County economic eﬀects eﬀorts factory family’s farm families farmers Federal Census ﬁelds ﬁgures ﬁnd ﬁrst half ﬁve Gazetteer George Holcomb grchs Greene County Hannah Bushnell harvest Hasbrouck History Horatio Gates Hudson Bee Hudson Valley income industrial inﬂuence John John Beebe John de Crèvecoeur Journal July June Kinderhook Kinderhook Sentinel Kingston labor land Ledger Leonard Bronk Livingston manorial March merchants microﬁlm mid–Hudson Valley mill n-yhs neighborhood neighbors NewYork nineteenth century nysha nysl oﬀ oﬀered Olmsted percent political population production proﬁt Schodack Sept sheep social Society Spaﬀord suﬀered Thomas Cole tion town Transactions Ulster County village wages wheat William Coventry William Coventry Diary women York