van RENSSELAER, Stephen [1764-1839] -- American soldier, General
As heir to a huge estate in upstate New York, he granted tenants perpetual leases at moderate rates, which saved would-be landholders from having to pay all of their money up front. This meant that they could invest more in their operations, which led to increased productivity in the area. Over time, van Rensselaer would become landlord over 3,000 tenants, and proved a lenient and benevolent landowner. His tenants, who did not have to work in fear of sudden foreclosure or unfair treatment, were able to focus on their work, and the productivity Van Rensselaer created benefited the entire Albany area.
Despite his active life, van Rensselaer's most lasting contribution to the world was to establish, with Amos Eaton, the Rensselaer School (now known as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, or RPI) "for the purpose of instructing persons, who may choose to apply themselves, in the application of science to the common purposes of life" in 1824. RPI became a well-respected American technological institution.
|Major of U.S. Militia|
|New York State Assembly|
|New York State Senate|
|Lt. Governor of New York|
|van Rensselaer attacks British forces in the Battle of Queenston Heights, and is badly beaten|
|Regent of the State University of NY|
|New York State Constitutional Convention|
|He casts the vote (in US HR) placing Adams in the presidency (over Jackson)|