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In Pursuit of PrivilegeA History of New York City's Upper Class and the Making of a Metropolis$
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Clifton Hood

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172165

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172165.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Uncertain Adjustments

Uncertain Adjustments

The 1780s and 1790s

(p.42) 2 Uncertain Adjustments
In Pursuit of Privilege

Clifton Hood

Columbia University Press

In the 1780s and 1790s, the old configuration of rank and hierarchy slowly gave way to demands for greater pluralism and equality, patriarchal leaders had to share the political sphere with representatives from other social groups, and an invigorated market economy created new fears and uncertainties. Even as they unflinchingly asserted their right to governance, upper-class New Yorkers were being forced to acknowledge in new ways the presence of the less privileged. That was a legacy of the Revolution and its immediate aftermath. For elites, the challenge of organizing new relationships with commoners was the main development of this time period. The loss of the national capital (to Philadelphia, in 1790) ensured that New York would continue to evolve as a business-oriented city and that business would be the main source of wealth and prestige for urban elites but upper-class New Yorkers remained fearful and apprehensive about materialism and did not yet embrace it fully.

Keywords:   Stock trading, Patriots, Loyalists, Toleration, communities of trust, national capital

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