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New Jersey: The Long Lived Proprietary

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Chapter Summary

The story of New Jersey’s proprietorships is certainly different, both in its complexity and length, from what happened elsewhere. While other colonial proprietorships illustrate how European countries financed settlement, and tell about the conflicts between the entrepreneurs who started them and the settlers who lived on their lands, this account does more. It traces the economic transformations that have occurred over the past three centuries. The New Jersey proprietorships started as one essentially feudal grant, and became two modern land companies. They sold land first for farms, then wood/charcoal, ice, resorts, turnpikes, and finally a safari and amusement ride park. For the first 125 years of the proprietorships these two groups and their members were deeply involved in New Jersey politics. The proprietors survived almost in spite of themselves, failing to sell out several times.

Keywords: colonial proprietorships; entrepreneurs; European countries; New Jersey



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