Stephen Van Rensselaer Net Worth
Stephen Van Rensselaer net worth: Stephen Van Rensselaer was an American politician, statesman, and landowner who had a net worth equal to $68 billion modern dollars. Stephen Van Rensselaer was Lieutenant Governor of New York and a well known statesman who was also heir to one of the largest estates in the New York region at the time, making him the tenth richest American of all time, based on the ration of his fortune to contemporary GDP. Van Rensselaer was of Dutch decent, and came from a very well off and prestigious family. He was forced to grow up quickly due to his father's untimely death when Van Rensselaer was only five years old, and from that day forward, he was groomed to take over his father's role as lord of the manor. On his 21st birthday, he took possession of the estate that was named "Rensselaerswyck," and comprised close to 1200 square miles. From that day forward he began a long tenure as lord of his family's manor. 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 of the entire region. Over time, Van Rensselaer became landlord to over 3,000 tenants and proved a lenient and benevolent landowner at that. His tenants did not have to work in fear of sudden foreclosure or unfair treatment, and thus were able to focus on their work and contribute to the productivity of their community. Van Rensselaer also spent a considerable amount of time in political pursuits; it is said this was rooted in a sense of duty rather than out of ambition. He was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1789-1791 and the New York State Senate from 1791-1796. He was Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1795-1801 and during this tenure, as well as throughout his career, he was known for being a reformer, voting in favor of extending suffrage, and going against much of New York's upper class in this belief. In 1786, Van Rensselaer was made a Major of the United States Militia, and eventually made his way to the War of 1812 where he fought a very unsuccessful battle against the British. After returning from war, he still enjoyed a fair amount of popularity and was a member of the New York State Constitutional Convention, and he eventually became a member of the United States House of Representatives.