According to a Washington Post report in the early years of the American republic over 1,700 Congressional representatives, Senators and Congressmen owned enslaved people. Despite a very clear conflict of interest they voted on the laws governing the country and the enslaved population. Some Representatives served in Congress long after slavery was finally abolished in New York State.
Five of the first seven U.S. Presidents were definitely slaveholders and at least five other later Presidents had family connections to slavery. Five of the Supreme Court Justices who ruled that African Americans had no citizenship rights under the Constitution in the 1857 Dred Scott decision were slaveholders.
Slavery, when the United States was founded, was a national, not a Southern institution and it continued in New York State until 1827. A number of New Yorkers who represented the state in the nation’s capital had owned or inherited slaves even though they later worked to abolish slavery including active abolitionists Rufus King, a United States Senator and a presidential candidate in 1816, who participated in the Constitutional Convention; Aaron Burr, a founder of the New York Manumission Society who was elected Vice-President of the United States in 1800; and Thomas Tredwell of Suffolk County on Long Island.
Other prominent New York names on the list include President Martin Van Buren, who is usually associated with opposition to the extension of slavery into western territories, and David Cady, the father of pioneering feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was raised in a slaveholding household and used racist rhetoric in opposition to the 15th Amendment to the Constitution because it empowered “degraded, ignorant” Black men to vote but not educated white women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton Day on November 11th is an official New York State day of commemoration.
This is the total list of New York representatives with connections to slavery including years served in the House of Representatives or Senate, Political Party, and the district and region they represented in New York State.
Records are imprecise for region and party affiliation, so these are the best categories I could assign. They sometimes represented more than one Congressional District, usually because lines were redrawn and seats were added after every Federal census. As new political party coalitions were formed in the early years of the Republic, the list shows that slave ownership crossed political lines.
In general, pro-administration Representatives morphed into the Federalists aligned with Alexander Hamilton and then the Adams (1820s), and Whig parties and anti-administration Representatives morphed into the Democratic-Republicans aligned with Thomas Jefferson and then the Jacksonian Democrats. Over 60% of the Representatives only served one term in Congress.
John Armstrong Jr., Democratic-Republican, 1800-1804 (Dutchess County)
Theodorus Bailey, Democratic-Republican, 1793-1804 (Dutchess County)
Aaron Burr, Democratic-Republican, 1791-1797 (New York City): Burr became a slaveholder when he married Theodosia Prevost who inherited enslaved Africans from her deceased first husband. There is evidence that Burr had a second-family with a non-white woman from India.
DeWitt Clinton, Democratic-Republican, 1802-1803 (New York City): Clinton was raised in a slave-owning household and inherited enslaved Africans. As Mayor of New York City, he supported emancipation and education for African children.
Rufus King, Federalist, 1813-1825 (New York City): An active abolitionist, King is believed to have owned enslaved Africans at one point.
Samuel Latham Mitchill, Democratic-Republican, 1801-1813, (Queens County)
William North, Federalist, 1798-1798 (Schenectady County)
Philip John Schuyler, Federalist, 1789-1798 (Albany County): Schuyler, an American Revolutionary War General and the father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton, was one of the largest slaveholders in New York State.
Martin Van Buren, Democrat, 1821-1828 (Columbia County): Van Buren was the first President born a citizen of the United States. Van Buren’s parents owned six enslaved people worked on their Kinderhook farm. There is evidence that Van Buren personally purchased and enslaved one African man.
James Watson, Federalist, 1798-1800 (Albany County): As a member of the New York State Assembly, Watson introduced a Gradual Manumission Bill.
U.S. House of Representatives
Egbert Benson, Federalist, 1789-1813, 1st, 2nd, 13th (New York City)
John Teunis Bergen, Jacksonian Democrat, 1831-1833, 22nd (Brooklyn)
Samuel Rossiter Betts, Democratic-Republican, 1815-1817, 14th (Sullivan County)
John Bird, Federalist, 1799-1801, 6th-7th (Albany County)
John Blake Jr., Democratic-Republican, 1805-1809, 9th-10th (Orange County)
Charles Borland Jr., Democratic-Republican, 1821-1823, 17th (Orange County)
Joseph Bouck, Jacksonian Democrat, 1831-1833, 22nd (Middleburgh)
Alexander Boyd, Federalist, 1813-1815, 13th (Schoharie County)
John Curtis Brodhead, Jacksonian Democrat, 1831-1839, 22nd, 25th (Ulster County)
Isaac Hopkins Bronson, Democrat, 1837-1839, 25th (Jefferson County)
David Brooks, Federalist, 1797-1799, 5th (Dutchess County)
Daniel Cady, Federalist, 1815-1817, 14th (Columbia County)
Walter Case, Jacksonian Democrat, 1819-1821, 6th, 8th (Dutchess County)
George Clinton, Democratic-Republican, 1803-1809, 8th, 9th, 10th (New York City)
Cadwallader David Colden, Adams (Federalist?), 1821-1823, 17th (New York City): Also served as Mayor of New York City.
Hector Craig, Jacksonian Democrat, 1823-1830, 18th, 21st (Orange County)
Jacob Crocheron, Jacksonian Democrat, 1829-1831, 21st (Richmond County)
Daniel Cruger, Democratic Republican, 1817-1819, 15th (Steuben County)
William Denning, Democratic Republican, 1809-1811, 11th (New York City)
Peter Denoyelles, Democratic Republican, 1813-1815, 13th (Rockland County)
Jacob Hasbrouck De Witt, Democratic Republican, 1819-1821, 6th (Ulster County)
John Dean Dickinson, Federalist, 1819-1831, 16th – 17th, 20th – 21st (Rensselaer County)
William Dietz, Jacksonian Democrat, 1825-1827, 19th (Schoharie County)
John Edwards, Democrat, 1837-1839, 25th (Fulton County)
Lucas Conrad Elmendorf, Democratic Republican, 1797-1803, 5th – 7th (Ulster County)
John Ely, Democrat, 1839-1841, 26th (Albany County)
Jonathan Fisk, Democratic Republican, 1809-1815, 11th, 13th – 14th (Newburgh, NY)
William Floyd, Anti-Administration, 1789-1791, 1st (New York City): Floyd was a member of the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence.
Daniel Greene Garnsey, Federalist, 1825-1829, 19th – 20th (Chautauqua County)
Nathaniel Garrow, Jacksonian Democrat, 1827-1829, 20th (Cayuga County)
Ezekiel Gilbert, Federalist, 1793-1797, 3rd – 4th (Columbia County)
Henry Glen, Federalist, 1793-1801, 3rd – 6th (Schenectady County)
Thomas Ruggles Gold, Federalist, 1809-1817, 11th – 12th, 14th (Oneida County)
James Gordon, Federalist, 1791-1795, 2nd – 3rd (Albany County)
Amos Phelps Granger, Whig/Republican, 1855-1859, 34th – 35th (Syracuse)
John Greig, Whig, 1841-1841, 27th (Ontario County)
James Guyon Jr., Democratic-Republican, 1820-1821, 16th (Richmond County)
Aaron Hackley Jr., Democratic-Republican, 1819-1821, 16th (Herkimer County)
Silas Halsey, Democratic-Republican, 1805-1807, 9th (Suffolk County)
Abraham Bruyn Hasbrouck, Adams (Federalist?), 1825-1827, 19th (Ulster County)
Abraham Joseph Hasbrouck, Democratic-Republican, 1813-1815, 13th (Ulster County)
Josiah Hasbrouck, Democratic-Republican, 1803-1819, 8th, 15th (Ulster County)
John Hathorn, Democratic-Republican, 1789-1797, 1st, 4th (Orange County)
Jonathan Nicoll Havens, Democratic-Republican, 1795-1799, 4th – 6th (Suffolk County)
James Lawrence Hogeboom, Democratic-Republican, 1823-1825, 18th (Columbia County)
William Irving, Democratic-Republican 1813-1819, 13th, 15th (New York City)
John King, Whig, 1831-1833, 22nd (Queens County): Son of Rufus King, New York State Governor
Dorrance Kirtland, Democratic-Republican, 1817-1819, 15th (Greene County)
Herman Knickerbocker, Federalist, 1809-1811, 11th (Rensselaer County)
Samuel Lawrence, Adams (Federalist?), 1823-1825, 18th (Chemung County)
Thomas Lawyer, Democratic-Republican, 1817-1819, 15th (Schoharie County)
John Lefferts, Democratic-Republican, 1813-1815, 13th (Kings County)
James Lent, Jacksonian Democrat, 1829-1833, 21st, 22nd (Queens County)
Edward Livingston, Democratic-Republican, 1795-1801, 4th, 5th, 6th (New York City): Livingston later moved to Louisiana where he was a slaveholder and represented that state in both the House of Representatives and Senate.
Henry Walter Livingston, Federalist, 1803-1807, 8th, 9th (Columbia County)
Robert Le Roy Livingston, Federalist, 1809-1812, 11th-12th (Columbia County)
John Lovett, Federalist, 1813-1817, 13th, 14th (Albany)
Vincent Mathews, Federalist, 1809-1811, 11th (Elmira?)
Andrew McCord, Democratic-Republican, 1803-1805, 8th (Orange County)
Thomas McKissock, Whig, 1849-1851, 31st (Orange County)
Morris Smith Miller, Federalist, 1813-1815, 13th (Oneida County)
Robert Monell, Jacksonian Democrat, 1819-1831, 16th, 21st (Chenango County)
Thomas Morris, Federalist, 1801-1803, 7th (Ontario County)
Gurdon Saltonstall Mumford, Democratic-Republican, 1805-1811, 9th, 10th, 11th (New York City)
John Nicholson, Democratic-Republican, 1809-1811, 11th (Herkimer County)
Beriah Palmer, Democratic-Republican, 1803-1805, 8th (Saratoga County)
Walter Patterson, Federalist, 1821-1823, 17th (Columbia County)
Oliver Phelps, Democratic Republican, 1803-1805, 8th (Ontario County)
Jeremiah Halsey Pierson, Democratic-Republican, 1821-1823, 17th (Rockland County)
Jonas Platt, Federalist, 1799-1801, 6th (Oneida County)
Peter Buell Porter, Democratic-Republican, 1809-1816, 14th (Niagara County): Secretary of War during the John Quincy Adams administration.
Samuel Riker, Democratic-Republican, 1804-1809, 10th (Queens County)
Robert Selden Rose, Whig, 1823-1831, 19th, 21st (Seneca County)
David Abel Russell, Whig, 1835-1841, 24th – 26th (Washington County)
Peter Sailly, Democratic-Republican, 1805-1807, 9th (Clinton County)
Thomas Sammons, Democratic-Republican, 1803-1813, 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th (Ulster County)
Joshua Sands, Federalist, m1803-1805, 1825-1827, 8th, 19th (Queens County)
John Savage, Democratic-Republican, 1815-1819, 14th, 15th (Washington County)
Abraham Henry Schenck, Democratic-Republican, 1815-1817, 14th (Dutchess County)
Cornelius Corneliusen Schoonmaker, Democratic-Republican, 1791-1793, 2nd (Ulster County)
Martin Gerretsen Schuneman, Democratic-Republican, 1805-1807, 9th (Greene County)
Philip Jeremiah Schuyler, Federalist, 1817-1819, 15th (Dutchess County)
Tredwell Scudder, Democratic-Republican, 1817-1819, 15th (Suffolk County)
Samuel Sherwood, Federalist, 1813-1815, 13th (Delaware County)
Zebulon Rudd Shipherd, Federalist, 1813-1815, 13th (Granville County)
Peter Silvester, Federalist, 1789-1793, 1st, 2nd (Columbia County)
Ambrose Spencer, Whig, 1829-1831, 21st (Columbia County)
John Canfield Spencer, Democratic-Republican, 1817-1819, 15th (Ontario County): As a Whig, he served as Secretary of War and Secretary of the Treasury in the Tyler Administration.
Randall S. Street, Federalist, 1819-1821, 16th (Dutchess County)
Peter Swart, Democratic-Republican, 1807-1809, 10th (Schoharie County)
Silas Talbot, Federalist, 1793-1795, 3rd (Albany County)
John W. Taylor, Federalist/Whig, 1813-1833, 13th-22nd (Saratoga County): Speaker of the House of Representative
David Thomas, Democratic-Republican, 1801-1808, 7th, 10th (Washington County)
John Thompson, Democratic-Republican, 1799-1811, 6th, 10th, 11th (Saratoga County)
Caleb Tompkins, Democratic-Republican, 1817-1821, 15th, 16th (Westchester County)
George Townsend, Democratic-Republican, 1815-1819, 14th, 15th (Queens County)
Thomas Tredwell, 1791-1795, 2nd, 3rd (Suffolk County): Tredwell was an active abolitionist whose family were major slaveholders in Suffolk County. After inheriting the property, including the enslaved Africans, Tredwell moved to the Lake Champlain region where he freed the enslaved Africans and gave them farmsteads.
Selah Tuthill, unknown, 1821-1821, 17th (Orange County)
Jacob Tyson, Democratic-Republican, 1823-1825, 18th (Richmond County)
James Isaac Van Alen, Democratic-Republican, 1807-1809, 10th (Columbia County): Half-brother of President Martin Van Buren.
John Evert Van Alen, Federalist, 1793-1799, 3rd, 5th (Rensselaer County)
Philip Van Cortlandt, Democratic-Republican, 1793-1809, 3rd, 10th (Westchester County)
Pierre Van Cortlandt Jr., Democratic-Republican, 1811-1813, 12th (Westchester County)
Peter Van Gaasbeck, Federalist, 1793-1795, 3rd (Ulster County)
John Peter Van Ness, Democratic-Republican, 1801-1803, 7th (Columbia County)
Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Democratic-Republican, 1789-1791, 1st (Albany County)
Killian Killian Van Rensselaer, Federalist, 1801-1811, 7th, 11th (Albany County)
Solomon Van Vechten Van Rensselaer, Federalist, 1819-1822, 16th, 17th (Albany County)
Stephen Van Rensselaer III, Federalist, 1822-1829, 17th, 20th (Albany County)
William William Van Wyck, Democratic-Republican, 1821-1825, 17th, 18th (Dutchess County)
Daniel Crommelin Verplanck, Democratic-Republican, 1803-1809, 8th, 10th (New York City)
Benjamin Walker, Federalist, 1801-1803, 7th (Oneida County)
Jonathan Ward, Democratic-Republican, 1815-1817, 14th (Westchester County)
Rensselaer Westerlo, Democratic-Republican, 1817-1819, 15th (Albany County)
Bartow White, Whig, 1825-1827, 19th (Westchester County)
James Whitney Wilkin, Democratic-Republican, 1815-1819, 14th, 15th (Orange County)
John Williams, Federalist, 1795-1799, 4th, 5th (Washington County)
Nathan Wilson, Democratic-Republican, 1807-1809, 10th (Washington County)
Elisha I. Winter, Federalist, 1813-1815, 13th (Clinton County)
John Jacob Wood, Jacksonian Democrat, 1827-1829, 20th (Rockland County)
John Barentse Yates, Democratic-Republican, 1815-1817, 14th (Schenectady County)
Illustration below, “Conspectus of American Politics, 1880” (courtesy Ralph E. Becker Collection of Political Americana, National Museum of American History).