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Toleration and Diversity in New Netherland and the Duke's Colony: The Roots of America's First Disestablishment

T. Jeremy Gunn and John Witte, Jr. eds., No Establishment of Religion: America's Original Contribution to Religious Liberty (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012) 125-157

Albany Law School Research Paper No. 20 for 2012-2013

36 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2012 Last revised: 3 Jul 2013

Paul Finkelman

University of Pittsburgh, School of Law; Albany Law School - Government Law Center

Date Written: November 1, 2012

Abstract

This book chapter argues that the emergence of religious diversity and a polyglot community in New Amsterdam for the directors of the Dutch West Indies Company to allow for substantial religious toleration in New Netherland, despite the objections of Governor-General Petrus Stuyvesant and other leaders of the colony. Stuyvesant persecuted Quakers, Lutherans, Jews, and even Puritans, but in most instances, the directors of company overruled him. By the time the English took over the colony it was the most religiously diverse place in the New World. This history led to New York to become the first American state to reject the idea of an established church, and to write into its first constitution protections for religious liberty and a firm opposition to an official church.

Suggested Citation

Finkelman, Paul, Toleration and Diversity in New Netherland and the Duke's Colony: The Roots of America's First Disestablishment (November 1, 2012). T. Jeremy Gunn and John Witte, Jr. eds., No Establishment of Religion: America's Original Contribution to Religious Liberty (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012) 125-157; Albany Law School Research Paper No. 20 for 2012-2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2169919 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2169919

Paul Finkelman (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh, School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-2079 (Phone)

Albany Law School - Government Law Center ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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