Stephen Van Rensselaer, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Date of Death


Stephen Van Rensselaer

New York landowner, businessman, militia officer, and politician

Date of Birth: 01-Nov-1764

Place of Birth: New York City, New York, United States

Date of Death: 26-Jan-1839

Profession: politician

Nationality: United States

Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

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About Stephen Van Rensselaer

  • Stephen Van Rensselaer III (November 1, 1764 – January 26, 1839) was a New York landowner, businessman, militia officer, and politician. A graduate of Harvard University, at age 21, Van Rensselaer took control of Rensselaerswyck, his family's manor.
  • He developed the land by encouraging tenants to settle it, and granting them perpetual leases at moderate rates, which enabled the tenants to use more of their capital to make their farms and businesses productive. Active in politics as a Federalist, Van Rensselaer served in the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate, and as Lieutenant Governor of New York.
  • After the demise of the Federalist Party, Van Rensselaer was a John Quincy Adams supporter, and served in the United States House of Representatives for one partial term and three full ones. Van Rensselaer was a supporter of higher education; he served on the board of trustees for several schools and colleges, and was the founder of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
  • He was also a civic activist and philanthropist, and was a founder of Albany's public library and the city's Institute of History & Arts. Long active in the militia, Van Rensselaer attained the rank of major general; he commanded troops on the New York-Canada border during the War of 1812, but resigned his commission after defeat at the Battle of Queenston Heights. After Van Rensselaer's 1839 death, efforts by his sons to collect past due lease payments led to the Anti-Rent War, and the break up and sale of the manor.
  • As the heir to and then owner of one of the largest estates in New York, Van Rensselaer's holdings made him the tenth richest American of all time, based on the ratio of his fortune to contemporary GDP.

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