Toleration and Diversity in New Netherland and the Duke's Colony: The Roots of America's First Disestablishment
University of Pittsburgh, School of Law; Albany Law School - Government Law Center
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
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Date posted: November 2, 2012 ; Last revised: July 3, 2013