New York State Legislature

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The Legislature of the State of New York is composed of two houses: the Senate, or upper house, led by the President (a post held ex officio by the Lieutenant Governor but usually filled by the Majority Leader), and the Assembly, or lower house, led by the Speaker. It meets at the New York State capitol in Albany. Members of both houses are elected for two year terms. The number of Senators varies, according to population, and stands now at 63. The Assembly has 150 members. The Legislature originated in the revolutionary New York Provincial Congress, assembled by patriots during the Revolutionary War, and has had a history of corruption. It is empowered to make laws subject to the governor's veto, which may be overridden by a two-thirds majority. It can also propose amendments to the New York State Constitution. In the late eighteenth century, this Legislature played a key role in the establishment of Brothertown. On a preaching tour of New York in 1784 to raise funds for Indian families moving up to Oneida country, Occom reported meeting a group of "agreeable" gentlemen who were members of the New York Assembly on a sloop he took to Albany, who are very pleased by the prospect of New England Indians moving to New York. Occom's journals for this period indicate that he was actively campaigning for the move, raising monies and meeting sympathetic ministers in upstate New York. He apparently made a good impresion, becaue in 1791, the New York Assembly and Senate paid Occom £15 for expenses to attend the Legislature on behalf of the Brotherton and New Stockbridge Indians (ms. 791174), indicating recognition of Occom's leadership. But the new settlement was beset with land troubles. In Fall 1786, the Oneidas, who had granted the New England Indians a tract of land in 1774 without reservations, wanted them to surrender the grant. Occom advised the Brothertown group to reject this dangerous proposal. When the Oneidas ceded all their lands to the State of New York in the Fort Schuyler Treaty of 1788, the Legislature intervened to recognize the Brothertown deed of 1774. But Occom and his group could not form the town's government and elect trustees until they ejected a group of whites who had won a ten-year lease from a group of trusting Indians. Again, the Legislature took action, passing the Act of March 31, 1795, insuring a large part of the Brothertown and New Stockbridge lands. Occom was responsible for this important measure, but it only slowed down the land grabbing that, after Occom's death, would eventually force the Brothertown Indians to move further west.

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Sources:

ballotpedia.org/New_York_State_Legislature#History; Blodgett, Harold. Samson Occom. Hanover, 1935.