Presentation on theme: "A brief slideshow to get you up to speed!. The Dutch establish New Amsterdam (in the colony of New York) primarily as a trading post. The Dutch West India."— Presentation transcript:
The Dutch establish New Amsterdam (in the colony of New York) primarily as a trading post. The Dutch West India Company (DWIC), the corporation which runs the colony under a charter from the Dutch government, is most interested in trading with Native Americans for beaver pelts, necessary for making the felt for the hats that were so popular and fashionable in 17 th -century Europe.
Dutch New Amsterdam / New Netherland remained small (only about 1500 in the port and 5000 in the whole colony at its height in 1664). But it was extremely diverse and commercial from the outset, owing to the influence of the Dutch and of its commercial origins. A visitor to NY in 1643 claimed to have heard 18 languages spoken on the streets of New Amsterdam (when the population was only 500 people).
The DWIC’s main interest was in commerce and profit. This interest sometimes came in conflict with the interest of the burghers (property holders in New Amsterdam / New Netherland) at some form of self representation, which they never received under Dutch rule. Many of the burghers chaffed under Dutch rule. They were especially unhappy with the leadership of William Kieft, the Dutch governor who went to war with Native Americans from 1643-45, leading to instability and the deaths of many European settlers and Native Americans.
In 1647, the DWIC recalled Kieft and installed Peter Stuyvesant in his place.
Stuyvesant was a true company man. He was interested in establishing order to the struggling colony. He laid out streets, built fortifications, started a town watch, and (controversially) closed taverns on Sundays. Stuyvesant was, not surprisingly, not very popular with the diverse and rowdy population of New Amsterdam.
In 1664, the Duke of York (brother to the King of England) received a charter to all of the lands between New England and Virginia (lands that were claimed by the Dutch as New Netherland). The King and his brother saw these lands as crucial to consolidating their North American holdings and to solidifying their empire (plus they were at war with the Dutch).
Stuyvesant was extremely unpopular and the population that lived in New Amsterdam was extremely diverse. Stuyvesant found it impossible to rally them into a militia to fight the British. Many of them were, in fact, English themselves. A minority of them considered themselves Dutch. The British offered very liberal terms in its Articles of Capitulation. The Articles spelled out the concessions England would give to the residents of New Netherland if they swore allegiance to the King of England. Basically, they could maintain all of their institutions, contracts, and customs. The burghers (and a grudging Stuyvesant) accepted the terms and in 1664, New Netherland became New York.
Under the British, New York grew into a sophisticated, cosmopolitan port town, complete with institutions (churches, a university, representative government), entertainments (theater, taverns) and a complex economy, fueled by the labor of servants and slaves. Conflicts arose over racial and economic inequality as well as ethnic difference.
But the biggest conflict for British New York, of course, was the American Revolution. From the first official battle in 1776 to the end of the war in 1783, New York was occupied by the British. They recognized its strategic importance, thanks to its central geographic position in the colonies and its superior natural harbor – central to the trade of the colonies. In 1783, at war’s end, General George Washington liberated New York City and its residents began to rebuild.
The Revolution broke the colonial relationship with Britain whereby the mother country manufactured and processed the raw materials of the colonies and sent back the finished goods to colonial markets. Now the former colonies needed to establish their own industries and domestic markets for agricultural and industrial goods. Each state vied to be the center of American commerce and trade (to move these goods through its port and around the country.
The Canal made it much easier to move goods across the state. It extended the hinterlands of New York City all the way to the Midwestern United States. Now all of the farm products of the midwest would travel to and through New York to other parts of the country and the world. And the residents of those farm areas would serve as customers for the manufactured goods and imports of New York City.
Towns along the canal route developed from small villages to cities virtually overnight, as reflected in these before and after pictures of Buffalo.
The Canal was but the first of many transportation developments to change the way goods and people moved around the country and the world. Other important 19 th -century developments were the steamboat and the railroad.
Transportation, communication, mass production in industry, and other technological changes brought about massive changes to daily life in the United States at large and in New York State and NYC in particular. Our readings (especially the Milton Klein and Edward Spann readings for the market revolution) highlight these changes. The Market Revolution was at base a shift from an agrarian, subsistence-plus economy and society to a market-based industrial society and economy. But it was far more than a simple shift in how people got their goods. It profoundly changed daily life from how and where people worked (in factories instead of workshops, for example), to class development, to residential patterns, to religious movements, to reform, etc., etc., etc. The changes in society and culture linked to the market revolution are akin to the changes brought about more recently by the technological revolution of the late 20 th century.
New York City was greatly affected by the economic and technological changes related to the market revolution. During the first half of the nineteenth century, its population increased from 30,000 to 800,000 (about half of them immigrants). The city’s area expanded (thanks to transportation developments like the omnibus and the street railroad) from a northern boundary of Chambers Street (1 mile above the southern tip of Manhattan) to the 50s (about 3 miles north of the southern tip).
The tremendous growth of New York City in the first half of the 1800s occurred in a context of very little government regulation of housing, the economy, the workplace, etc. And the government had trouble keeping pace with the rapid growth. So the services it did provide (fire protection, policing, for example) were inadequate to the growing needs of the city. The result was a city with a lot of amazing new things (department stores, luxury hotels, restaurants, theaters, plumbing, gas lighting, etc.) and with a lot of serious growing pains (as Spann discusses in the reading).
By the 1830s, New York was becoming a city of great contrasts. The middle and upper classes saw a rising standard of living and greater comforts (see Spann) while the poor, whose ranks were growing, saw a declining standard of living from that of their parents and grandparents’ generations.