This is the first new book on the Anti-Rent War in 20 years. It places the start of the movement at about 1750 when the Massachusetts Bay Colony laid out three new townships on Livingston and Van Rensselaer Manors. They were giving 100 acre homesteads to new settlers. The Northern Aristocrats like the Livingston measured their wealth in the number of acres they owned. The Southern Aristocrats measured their wealth by the number of slaves they owned. Things changed in the North first; the small farmers demanded land reform and an end to tenant agriculture. The small farmers rose in political power just as the railroads opened the west to development. The election of 1860 had 4 candidates running. Breckinridge and Bell ran strong in the South while Lincoln and Douglas ran strong in the North. Land police was the deciding factor. Lincoln came out for a Homestead Act and won the backing of the farmers. Douglas was for letting the new states decide if they wanted slavery but Breckinridge took the South anyway. Lincoln easily beat Douglas in the North. The election of Lincoln was the cause of the war.
Had either Breckinridge or Douglas won I dont believe South Carolina would have left the Union and there would not have been a war at that time. Lincoln signed the Homestead Act in 1862 that settled 270 million acres of the west.
Author Grant Langdon grew up in Copake, New York, and returned home after college to run a 380-acre dairy farm. His first book, Scandal in the Courtroom: Found Guilty without Trial, tells what happened when a serial arsonist terrified the community. He relocated to Cincinnati in 1997.