Low Countries Histories - Political

Brake, Wayne te. Regents and Rebels: The Revolutionary World of an Eighteenth-Century Ducth City. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1989.

Utilizing political petitions to determine the the composition and evolution of the Patriot coalition, Te Brake analyzes the stages of the Dutch Patriot movement in the town of Deventer in the eastern province of Overijssel, concluding that the Dutch Patriots were able to achieve quite a bit within the limits they had set for themselves.  Eighteenth-century Deventer was a small town of  some 8,000 inhabitants.  Since 1748, the the stadhouder had enjoyed unrivaled powers of appointment in Deventer and Overijssel; however, the local and provincial elite wanted to usurp those powers of appointment.  Te Brake discovered that, initially, the Patriot movement found its strongest support among typical ancien régime organizations such as the artisanal guilds, which provided block signatures to the earliest petitions.  However, according to Te Brake, the Patriot movement in Deventer went way beyond the particular needs and grievances of the guilds.  Consequently, a new associative organization of professional people such as lawyers was formed: the burgher committee.  The burgher committee was able to gain the upper hand within the Patriot movement and drew up a new constitution.  The guild members did not like the new constitution in large part because it gave Roman Catholics civic rights, which would threaten the vested interestes of the Protestant guilds.  Consequently, the guilds threw the weight of their support behind the counter-revolutionary faction in the city council, which, according to Te Brake, produced a peculiar brand of Orangism firmly rooted in self-interest.  As a result, the traditional ideas of guild democracy now confronted constitutional conceptions of a more modern nature.  Thus, by the time of the Prussian invasion in 1787, the traditional mold of Deventer politics was, according to Te Brake, well and truly broken.

Heirbaut, Dirk. “Flanders: a pioneer of state-oriented feudalism? Feudalism as an instrument of comital power in Flanders during the High Middle Ages, 1000–1300.” In Expectations of Law in the Middle Ages, edited by Anthony Musson, 23–34. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2001.

In this essay, the Belgian historian Dirk Heirbaut posited that by 1000 the “Flemish counts were pioneers in their exploitation of feudalism as an instrument of princely power” (34).  In fact, Heribaut maintained that by 1164 the counts enjoyed an absolute monopoly on military and court service resulting from the personal feudalism that the counts used to preserve order.

Pettegree, Andrew. “The politics of toleration in the Free Netherlands, 1572–1650.” In Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation, edited by Ole Peter Grell and Bob Scribner, 182–198. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

In this essay Pettegree asserted that toleration was a tool of politics during the Dutch Golden Age.  Therefore, a scholar such as Justus Lipsius could argue both for and against policies of toleration.

Price, J. L. “The Dutch Nobility in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.” In The European Nobilities in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, vol. 1: Western Europe, edited by Hamish M. Scott, 82–113. London: Longman Group, 1995.

In his contribution to The European Nobilities in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Price asserted that the variation in wealth and power among the Dutch nobility was extremely sharp.  In Zeeland, for example, the nobility were completely stripped of any political role.  Meanwhile, in the provinces of Utrecht, Overijssel, and Gelderland, the political power of the nobility was much greater.


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