Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Great points. I think the point--at least in terms of Shorto's book--is not that "The Dutch" were or are more tolerant or liberal than other people. Shorto's discussion of Dutch tolerance that he feels made an impact on later American notions, stems from two issues. One is the Dutch fight for independence, and then the acceptance of different, mostly protestant groups (Pilgrims, Puritans, etc., but also Jewish). The other is the place of Leiden University at the time, and as you say, figures like Grotius and Descartes. One section of his book discusses one of the prominent members of the New Netherlands community--Adriaen van der Donck--who had studied law at Leiden and then made the adventurous journey to Manhattan. He called for a new society in which people had representation; van der donck was also a constant thorn in Peter Stuyvesant's side.
by Panhu from Wuling on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 08:54:25 PM EST
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