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The American Revolution and Long Island

This research examines conditions on Long Island, New York, on the eve of the American Revolution. The research will discuss how the currents of rebellion against England achieved importance in Long Island over the course of the 18th century. As well, reference will be made to the impact that the Revolution had on historical developments in the area.

From the time revolutionary sentiment began to overtake the British colonies, New York and the area of Long Island were at the center of the debate about going through with rebellion. Even before the time that Charles II authorized Richard Nicolls of the Royal Navy to recruit English militia and settlers from Connecticut and Long Island to appropriate New Amsterdam and New Netherland from the rather rigid administration of the Dutch East India Company under Peter Stuyvesant, the main preoccupations of area settlers were unimpeded commerce and trade (Elson 140ff; Becker 132). New Amsterdam, which became York Island, which became Manhattan, together with Long Island, was not yet the largest but was nevertheless an important commercial center of the New World. Long Island itself was distinctive even under Dutch rule for having a population more English than Dutch. At the western edge of Long Island, with its proximity to New Amsterdam, Dutch farmers had settled, and Dutch rule prevailed. However, in the central and eastern parts of the island, the population was mainly English, and local government was organized much as it had been in New England (Becker 131-2).

What was significant about the New England character of most of Long Island was that its government was more liberal, involving religious toleration and adherence to English legal custom and practice. By 1683, the New York Assembly had been organized and was meeting in the city in Manhattan, and by 1688, the whole colony was formally annexed to New England. This was to have repercussions lasting nearly 100 years; the fact that N...

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The American Revolution and Long Island. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:59, June 15, 2019, from