New York Assembly Election of 1769

In the middle to late 18th century, the DeLanceys and the Livingstons were the two most powerful families that dominated the political field in the New York Province. Both of these families came from fortunes that were passed down by generations before them. By the 1752 Election, the DeLancey Family controlled 12 of the 27 Assembly seats. In the election of 1769, New York was in an economic depression due to the Currency Act, which required a recall of all paper money. Due to the fact that New York was refusing British Imports, The DeLancey Family, who led the assembly, attempted to pass a bill that would that allowed the printing of paper money in which half would go into supporting the Quartering Act. However, due to political propaganda titled, To the Betrayed Inhabitants of the City and Colony of New York written by Alexander McDougall the DeLancey family lost artisan support, as well as support from the Sons of Liberty who then sided with the Livingstons. The propaganda exposed the DeLancey family for going against the people of New York and using the power of British taxation. Shortly after it was published, Alexander McDougall was arrested with libel.


While looking through the America’s Historical Newspaper Database, I started out with search of the DeLancey Family. Because they were such a powerful and influential family in New York, more than 1,000 articles relating to them came up. To narrow down my search I then looked for DeLancey Family 1769. The only articles that came up were those from the 1800s. I did the same search for the Livingston Family and received the same results. After searching, “New York Assembly 1769” I started finding results that discussed the election. The news reached Boston, and in the Boston Evening Post printed on January 2, 1769 it discussed the future plans to gain relief from Britain during it’s depression. The news of the election was also reported in the New York Gazette. I then searched Alexander McDougall, which gave me a variety of newspapers. In an issue of the Boston Evening Post printed on February 19, 1770 it reports the charges brought against McDougall. What I found interesting is that when To the Betrayed Inhabitants of the City and Colony of New York was first published, the author did not reveal himself and there was a vote to find out who it was. The news of Alexander McDougall also reached Salem, MA and in the February 1770 issued an opinion article describing him was printed. The article stated that McDougall’s defense to his actions could be seen as nothing but admirable.

After looking through articles discussing the families and this election the news that was reported on this event mostly centered on Alexander McDougall and the article that he wrote. People discussed this in the surrounding states of New York such as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The coverage lasted about a year, as newspapers wrote about it in 1770. Articles surrounding this event were usually opinions or under news from other states. This event was not a front-page story, and the articles were usually small. Although this election did not generate a big news story or had extensive coverage it is important to note that it was at least mentioned. I think what caused the event to be discussed even more was the article that Alexander McDougall wrote because people wanted to know who wrote it. Looking through these newspapers gave me some perspective on how news was written and how it reached other people. Although it was not seen as a huge event, it’s important to note that it was still reported on, and that is enough to come to the conclusion that it was news worthy.

Boston Evening Post February 19, 1770

The Essex Gazette Febraruy 20, 1770

New York Gazette June 19, 1769


One thought on “New York Assembly Election of 1769

  1. It seems quite interesting that little came up for the families even when you bounded the search by year. It may be that much of the discussion was cloaked in pseudonymous essays, which are harder to find with this type of search and scale of research (that is, just a few hours).


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