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Middlefield and the Settling of the New York Frontier: A Case Study of Development in Central New York, 1790-1865

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Middlefield and the Settling of the New York Frontier: A Case Study of Development in Central New York, 1790-1865

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More than just a mere history of one community, Dominick Reisen's scholarly exploration of Middlefield in Otsego County presents ...

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More than just a mere history of one community, Dominick Reisen's scholarly exploration of Middlefield in Otsego County presents this rural, crossroads hamlet as a case study of the development of sma... ll towns in central New York State during the early years of the American Republic, through the Civil War. Reisen tracks the emergence and growth of various businesses and social groups within the community, tracing in great detail the lives of various key figures who made their home in Middlefield. He discusses how external agricultural factors and the great social movements of the era, such as temperance and abolition, impacted their lives inside the hamlet, both economically and socially. Viewing these ambitious personalities through the full spectrum of life, the author reveals how their interconnected lives and businesses led to a degree of prosperity and self-reliance in this secluded frontier settlement. This wide-ranging study's crucial value to historians, however, is the way in which Reisen uses Middlefield to illustrate the development of the entire region of central New York during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He reviews the development of technological achievements such as the Erie Canal and railroads, and explains how these advancements in transportation alternately spurred growth and led to stagnation in various communities. He also provides significant discussion of the unique landownership patterns of central New York and how these arrangements led to social unrest and radical change, resulting ultimately in the Anti-Rent Wars during the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Middlefield and the Settling of the New York Frontier: A Case Study of Development in Central New York, 1790-1865 relies heavily on primary source material and is documented thoroughly with endnotes and indexed. The work is substantially illustrated with photographs and maps, and several appendices offer additional detailed information. REVIEW: Professional historians will find in Reisen's study a useful collection of data supportive of social histories of the early republic. For local historians, Middlefield is an admirable model of how to research and interpret the history of even the smallest communities. Readers with a general interest in history might keep in mind that Tocqueville studied America 'in order to learn what we have to fear or hope from its progress.' Reisen's study of Middlefield usefully documents not only the history of a small New York hamlet, but also the fundamental building blocks at the foundation of America's progress. Brian Carso Jr., Misericordia University Author of Whom Can We Trust Now?: The Meaning of Treason in the United States, from the Revolution through the Civil War
  • Format: Hardback
  • Publication Date: 01/08/2009
  • Publisher: Square Circle Press LLC
  • Illustrations: illustrations
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Pages: 229
  • Dimensions (mm): 152x229x18mm
  • Weight: 517g
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  • Format:Hardback
  • Publication Date: 01/08/2009
  • Author:Dominick J Reisen

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