History of New Netherland
This page describes the history of New Netherland in greater detail.
Colonial era (1616-1795)
The Dutch West India Company hired Henry Hudson to seek a passage to Asia in 1611. Hudson sailed to the northeast to find this passage but instead found the coasts of present-day New England and New Netherland.
After he had reported to the Dutch Republic of this fertile land with inhabitants willing to trade, merchants came settling in, and they built multiple settlements. In 1624, the Dutch WIC established the settlement of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island. New Netherland was also declared a province of the Dutch Republic in the same year and was ruled by Director-Generals appointed by the Dutch WIC. To encourage settlement, the Dutch West India Company established the Patrön System in 1629. Under the system, any person who can bring in and settle at least 50 persons over the age of 15 will receive a liberal grant of land with the title of patrön (akin to "lord").
As the population of New Netherland grew, the people were becoming more disenchanted with the governance of the Dutch WIC over New Netherland. To appease the colonists, the Dutch WIC had convened multiple councils composed of colonists to advise the Director-General. However, the advice of these councils were often ignored by the Director-General. This disgruntlement was amplified when a Director-General, Willem Kieft, started a war against the natives over stolen pigs in 1643, against the wishes of the colonial council.
As a response to Kieft's war, the Board of Nine, led by colonist and lawyer Adriaen van der Donck, penned a complaint to the Dutch Republic against the unresponsiveness of the Dutch WIC to the colonists' rights and requests. This document was called the Remonstrance of New Netherland and had condemned the WIC for mismanagement and demanded full rights for the colonists as citizens of the Netherlands.
The Municipal Charter of 1656
The Dutch WIC responded to the complaints by appointing Peter Stuyvesant as the Director-General. During this time, land ownership regulations were loosened and liberalized, and the province experienced exponential growth. However, multiple complaints were still made against the WIC’s control and governance over the province.
This had led Adriaen van der Donck to return to the Dutch Republic once again and seek redress. After years of political and legal wrangling, the Dutch Republic finally came down against the Dutch WIC and decided to grant New Netherland a new municipal charter in 1652, giving them a popularly elected government to govern internal affairs. Van der Donck became the colony's first leader. This charter also barred the Dutch WIC from internal affairs and governance. The former Director General Peter Stuyvesant was appointed as the Governor-General in Dutch Formosa.
During the early years of New Netherland, the English colonists in the northeast have started settling on Dutch claimed territory. Numerous English settlements have been built on the west side of the Fresh River (Connecticut River), which was originally claimed by the Dutch. Having been defenseless, the few Dutch colonists in those areas were forced to abandon their settlements. Van der Donck asserted the claims of the Dutch. Additionally, by advise of his right-hand man Paulus van der Grist, Van der Donck established the NNL-Kommando system in 1659 (with the approval of the Dutch States-General). The NNL-Kommando system was a paramilitary reserve system created for the defense of the Dutch claimed areas in case of skirmishes and for settlement defense in general. The system also provided the colonists with training in weaponry and defense.
Second Anglo-Dutch War (1664)
Prince Maurice’s War (1750-1755)
|Prince Maurice's War|
|Part of Great Silesian War|
United Kingdom |
Prince Maurice's War was the colonial American theatre of a larger conflict in Europe known as the Great Silesian War. It was one of the largest colonial wars in North America, where the colonies of Britain, Spain, and the Dutch Republic were pitted against those of France and their native allies.
In the early years of the war, New France saw significant gains on the Tussenland front, occupying key areas. However, Dutch forces soon overpowered the invading French forces and marched northeast towards the Great Lakes region in 1751, capturing several key forts in the area. Meanwhile, the armies of New France had marched south from Montreal to invade the Iroquoian homeland, which was a protectorate under the Dutch colony of Tussenland. However, the local guerilla militia known as the NNL-Kommando had successfully repelled the invasion. An attempt by the NNL-Kommando to take Montreal had ended terribly, but soon, in late 1752, the city was occupied by combined Dutch and British forces. Quebec and other forts along the St. Lawrence River were occupied in 1753. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Vienna on 16 February 1755. The treaty granted the Dutch possession of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Basin region, while the British were granted possession of the islands of Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Les Saintes, Marie-Galante, and La Désirade.
Statute on the Rights of Patroons (1786) & The Military Assimilation Act (1792)
The 1700s in New Netherland were defined by border conflicts between the patroons, and tension between the patroon militias and the NNL-Kommando trying to cont
ain these conflicts. Sibren van Heemskerck, a staunch anti-aristocrat, was elected by the colonial assembly as director of New Netherland in 1785. The Council of Nine, now mostly occupied by settlers and workers, had hoped that Director van Heemskerck would crack down on the abuses by the patroons in their domain, which was largely ignored by the preceding director. In 1786, van Heemskerck issued the Statute on the Rights of Patroons in 1786, which stripped the patroons of absolute power to rule over their lands. Under the statute, the director of the colony would have greater authority, and all land-owning patroons would now be subject to the director and the colonial council of Nine. The statute was part of van Heemskerck’s attempts to centralize and solidify the colony’s administration and authority.”
In 1792, the succeeding leader of NNL, Eleazar Henrÿcksz, enacted the Military Assimilation Act, which did mostly two things:
- Heavy taxation for the patroons.
- Use this new tax to buy off the militia from the patroons and increase the budget for the NNL-Kommando. So they become less powerful.
Independence War (1795-1796)
The French Revolution and Political Turmoil in New Netherland
As part of the revolutionary campaign in the Low Countries, the French Republic invaded the Dutch Republic, and replaced it with a client state, the Batavian Republic. The Dutch stadtholder, Prince of Orange, who had fled to England, initially refused to recognize the Batavian Republic, and ordered all Dutch colonial governors to surrender to and temporarily accept British authority instead for safekeeping. As the news got to the New Netherland, many were demoralized and discouraged by the orders. It had demoralized both the private patroon militias and the NNL-Kommandos as well. Two loosely-knit factions emerged from this conflict:
- Loyalists: supporters of the Dutch republic and Dutch colonial interests, who denounced the surrender orders as treacherous
- Orangists: Supporters of William V, who warmly viewed the orders as legitimate.
Even the loyalist opinion was divided. Some viewed William V order as treacherous, while some refused to surrender and maintain the colony as it is until William V is restored to power (believing a conspiracy that William V had been forced/coerced by the British to surrender the colonies). Director-General Eleazar Henrÿcksz, a staunch Orangist, warmly received the orders and sent them to the Colonial Assembly for approval. The Assembly, which was composed of mostly Orangists, set aside their disdain for the Director for now, and approved the order quickly, in fear of a military conflict between Great Britain and New Netherland.
This move by the Director and the council left the patroons and loyalist common-folk disillusioned. The NNL-Kommando denounced the decision of Eleazar Henrÿcksz and the Colonial Assembly.
A new faction had emerged: the Particularists, composed of patroons, NNL-Kommandos, and common-folk who did not want to surrender to Great Britain, and a bunch of previously non-radical folk who were now disdainful of the government. Although this was a loosely knit faction, many patroons and commonfolk have identified themselves to be particularists.
But despite the protests, Director Eleazar Henryckszoon announced the colony’s surrender. He put New Netherland at the British disposal on November 1795 on paper. However, the particularists were outraged at the hasty decision-making and the lack of public involvement in the decision.
The Particularist Revolt (1795)
The Dutch Colonial Force had suffered massive defection and desertion by their troops, due to the demoralizing surrender to the British. Some particularists, however, saw this as an opportunity to remove the Orangists from power. In 1796, Claes van der Beeke, a wealthy patroon who controlled a large militia, planned a coup d’etat in Spring 1796, using a combined force of his militia and NNL-Kommando defectors. This army was called the Vrÿheydsleger (lit. Freedom Army, although this did not imply independence, rather freedom from British occupation). Claes’ son, Marÿn van der Beeke, led this army and marched to New Amsterdam to seize control of the city.
On April 2, 1796, the Prinsenvlag was once again flown at the Unity Palace (seat of colonial government), after the Vrÿheydsleger defeated the army stationed at Fort New Amsterdam.
On 4 April 1796, Claes van Beeke declared a provisional military government. This provisional government did not aim to gain independence or secede from the Dutch Republic, but rather to briefly fill in the power void that occurred.
Director Eleazar Henrycksz and some members of the Council of Nine were arrested by Claes van der Beeke’s army a week later for treason. The townspeople of Kievitshoeck, a small village near the northern border, recognized them dressed in farmers’ grabs trying to escape to New England, and alerted the local NNL-Kommando field-captain in the area. Captured members of the colonial assembly were forced to swear their allegiance to the Dutch Republic and the provisionary colonial government. They were detained in Fort Van der Donck (named after the Father of New Netherland) in New Amsterdam.
The Autumn War (1796)
A month after the coup, New England diplomat Alexander Upperton delivered an ultimatum from the British to the provisionary colonial government of New Netherland. Claes van der Beeke was to surrender to the British within the next month or New Netherland would face grave consequences from Great Britain. During this period, Voskes would not follow through, and ordered the hasty construction of defenses near the New England border.
Realizing that his authority might be in danger, Van der Beeke sent an envoy to France to ask for recognition and support. The envoy, Gÿsje van Langedÿk, was received well in France, citing a mutual distrust towards the English and support for the French Republic. Van Langedÿk successfully negotiated a loan for the provisional government, which had a positive impact in the early years of the government.
Great Britain declared war against New Netherland in 1796 for refusing the ultimatum. But was outnumbered by the New Netherland and French forces combined. Man of the hour was Marÿn van Beeke, who led the New Netherland forces to victory in battles. He was the son of a wealthy patroon and had military experience in the NNL-Kommando and briefly the Dutch West India army.
The war continued on until 1798 (two years). The war resulted in a stalemate. Former director Eleazar Henryckszoon was exiled to Great Britain. Great Britain was forced to withdraw from the Autumn war due to the outbreak of the War of the Second Coalition back in Europe.
End of the Hödenoshieöné Confederacy
After the successful independence of New Netherland in 1796, the new government started to claim lands owned by the Iroquois. Before their independence, New Netherland was already allowed by the Iroquois to build settlements inside their land, in exchange for a quarterly land due. However, with New Netherland's independence, the Iroquois confederacy was wary if the new government would continue to pay their dues. A few years later, the new government claimed a vast portion of Iroquois land as part of New Netherland, but promised that they would still pay the dues that the government owes them. Despite the promise, some nations inside the confederacy (most notably the Seneca and the Cayuga) protested the claims, pointing the violation of their sovereignty. The Grand Council of the confederacy convened multiple times with the agenda of how to resolve the conflicting claims. The Cayuga and Seneca advocated that they move south, away from New Netherland, as a means to preserve their sovereignty, while the others voted to retain in their traditional homeland. After the second stadtholder of independent New Netherland, Isaac Kuyter, enacted the Northwestern Borders and Assimilation Act of 1816, and the confederacy's Grand Council unable to come to a conclusion, the Seneca and Cayuga led a migration down south and became protectorates of the Dutch, thus ending the confederacy.
The Patrön period (1796-1903)
The First Stadtholders
The New Patroon Government, under Marÿn van der Beeke, first stadtholder of New Netherland (1796-1811)
The patroons had convened in the capital to decide a new form of government. They agreed on a new constitution: New Netherland was to be led by a stadtholder, which was to be elected by a Patroon Council. The term of the stadtholder would end once he dies or his health is deteriorating to a point where he no longer can lead. The first stadtholder elected was Marÿn van der Beeke, the famous New Netherlander general who had captured the city of New Amsterdam from the former colonial government. The council chose him for his popularity among the rural classes and his prestigious patroon status as the son of one of the largest patroons in New Netherland.
He officially took the office on September 17, 1796. His policies would be known for compromises between the rural agricultural workers and the patroons. The rural peasantry and the liberal-minded patroons lauded him, but he made political opponents in the conservative circle of patroons. He did not entertain issues pertaining to the normalization of relations between the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Van der Beeke also enacted the Abolition of Slavery Act in 1813, which was seen as an economic decision rather than a moral decision (i.e. to prevent slave labor from competing with the rural peasantry) which pleased the working and middle classes of New Netherland.
His policies towards the Iroquois in the north were amicable. He reiterated multiple times during his rule that the New Netherland government would continue to pay land dues to the Iroquois for the settlements that they had built on native territory.
In the 1820s, his health became a heated discussion among the Patroon Council when rumors circulated that van der Beeke had contracted syphilis from his numerous affairs with women, which according to his biggest political opponent and fellow patroon, Jacobus van Ackerhuys, was grounds for his impeachment from the stadholderateship (on the grounds of deteriorating health). This attempt was dismissed by the Patroon Council due to lack of evidence. Van der Beeke dismissed the rumors as an attempt to destabilize the young republic.
Van der Beeke harbored strong anti-Orangist and anti-British views. He sought friendlier relations with the republican government in France and fostered a good relationship with the separatist circles in Virginia. During his rule, no bilateral diplomatic relations were opened with the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Van der Beeke died in 1811 at age 41.
Reign of Isaac Kuyter (1811-1822)Kingdom of the Netherlands and reiterated that New New Netherland was the only true Dutch Republic. However, unlike his predecessor, he was seeking friendly ties with Great Britain and turned away from the influence of New France. Conservative patroons grew distrustful of Kuyter in the process.
Kuyter's reign saw significant improvements in quality of life for New Netherland, such as the enacting of the Postal Service Act of 1812, and the National Bank and Coinage Act of 1814. However, he was most notorious for the Northwestern Borders and Assimilation Act of 1816, which declared that land up to 82°W would be fully considered as New Netherland territory, and invited the Iroquians to be "part of the Republic as a full New Netherlander". The Act also stated that the government would stop paying the land dues to the Iroquois since it would be fully integrated to New Netherland. This was met with heavy criticism from Iroquoian leaders, who saw this a violation of their sovreignity, and caused the Seneca and Cayuga to migrate southwards and seek protectorateship status from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Kuyter unexpectedly died in 1822 inside his private manor at age 56, due to a dubious "falling accident," and was buried in his private manor in Nieuhaven. In recent years, many have called for the exhumation of Kuyter's remains to re-examine his death with the modern advancements in forensics, but attempts were blocked by the Kuyter family.
Reign of Hendrick I van Ackerhuys (1822-1836)
Hendrik van Ackerhuys styled himself as simply Hendrick and started his reign in 1822. In a complete reversal of his predecessor's policies, he sought to normalize relations with the Kingdom of the Netherlands. His opinion was popular with the Patroon council and led to his election as New Netherland's third stadtholder.
He was initially favored by both the patroons and the rural peasantry, but multiple scandals had tainted his reign as years passed. He was engaged in the corruption and siphoning of the state government fund and confiscating lands owned by his political opponents (such as the confiscation of van der Beeke's manor north of New Amsterdam).
In 1835, he penned the Decree on New Netherland Succession, which made the stadtholderate hereditary on the grounds of protecting the continuity and stability of the government. This action evoked mixed but primarily adverse reactions within the Patroon Council, which now had been demoted to an advisory role. However, he was able to gain the support of several patroons through bribery and negotiation with the patroons (giving land confiscated from political enemies, political favors, etc.). In 1831, he gains de-facto absolute power when he obtained support from the military him in his exploits. The military under his rule was centralized. Some of the patroons tried to muster their militias and staged multiple minor revolts, but none were successful.
In 1832, he disbanded the Kommando System that had been in place since the late 1650s, confiscating weapons issued to the town militias. Despite these actions, he was lauded by the common folk for taking a stand against the Patroons and securing their loyalty by enacting the Agricultural Act of 1833, which set a standardized ceiling for the agricultural tax that the patroons were able to tax on the farmers. He died in 1836 in his private manor, and the stadtholderateship was passed to his son.
Reign of Hendrick II van Ackerhuys (1836-1855)
Hendrick II was the son of the previous stadtholder, Hendrick van Ackerhuys. He succeeded immediately after his father immediately after his death in 1836. His ascension to the stadtholderate was not uncontested, but he was able to subdue his political opponents by arresting them on false charges. He is mostly known for New Netherland's entry and eventual defeat in the Canton War against Britain and France.
Canton War and the 2nd Dutch-Spanish War
When the Canton War between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Great Britain erupted in 1850, the Kingdom of the Netherlands convinced Hendrick II to aid them in attacking the British in New England, without the Patroon Council's knowledge. Furthermore, Van Ackerhuys was promised personal fortune and land claims for New Netherland stretching westward up to Boston, New England after the war was over. Eventually, the truth behind the secret affair was unraveled, and the Patroon Council protested the mobilization of troops but had very little power to stop it. Ultimately, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and New Netherland lost the war, tanking van Ackerhuys popularity in all social classes in New Netherland. Fearing a coup, van Ackerhuys agreed to abdicate the stadtholderate in favor of his liberal-minded son, Lodewijk van Ackerhuys.
Reign of Lodewÿck van Ackerhuys (1855-1870)
Lodewÿck van Ackerhuys was coronated on July 14, 1855. It was during his rule that the coastal cities of New Netherland underwent gradual modernization and industrialization, creating an entire new working class population in the city, that contrasted with the rural peasantry in the patroonships. This was due to his policy of increasing tariffs for European imports, allowing the local industry in New Netherland to flourish. Lodewÿck was seen as a moderate, trying to balance the interests of New Netherland and its relations with other powers.
New Netherland's involvement in the Tussenland Revolts, and acquisition of Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire
New Netherland's relationship with the Kingdom of the Netherlands significantly improved after New Netherland extended support and passage for the Kingdom of the Netherlands' military during the Tussenland Upheavals, a series of revolts in the Dutch colony of Tussenland. The combined power of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and New Netherland was unsuccessful in quelling the revolts. Nevertheless, New Netherland gained the trust of the European kingdom. However, their actions also led to strained relations with the Tussenlanders, who started to distrust New Netherland and their intentions. The ACB islands became a special territory or "colony" of New Netherland. Lodewÿck appointed Gÿs Haverhoeck as ACB's first Director-General. His government introduced aloe to the islands and became one of New Netherland's profitable industries.
The Second Patroon Constitution (1870-1903)
Calls for reform, and the death of Lodewÿck
Since Lodewÿck ascended to the throne in 1855, there had been multiple calls from the other patroons to restore the elective monarchy of New Netherland, with additional restrictions. Lodewÿck was sympathetic to this cause, but treaded very carefully on the issue as to not cause political instability and unrest. Since 1863, slow but substantial progress had already been made for a new constitution for New Netherland. The pressure to finish the constitution increased after Lodewÿck became ill in February 1870.
On March 16, the Committee of the Constitution (Amerikaens: Comisie v'nde Grondwet) finished penning the constitution, with the patroon council ratifying it a day later. Elections within the patroon council were to be held a week later. Lodewÿck, however, unexpectedly died on March 20, 1870, three days prior to the election of a new stadtholder. Since the new constitution was already ratified, the patroon council still agreed to continue with the elections, but was postponed a few days later to March 30, 1870.
Unsuccessful Coup by Johan Wilhelm (1870)
Johan Wilhelm van Ackerhuys, Lodewÿck's eldest son and the heir apparent of the New Netherland under the old constitution, refused to recognize the new constitution. On March 20, 1870, he marched to the Unity Palace along with a small group of ten men he had mustered, and demanded the be allowed entry to the palace. He was arrested later that afternoon for nuisance. After he was released later in the day, Johan Wilhelm left for the Kingdom of the Netherlands along with his family.
The Stadtholderate under the Second Patroon Constitution
The tenure of each stadtholder was short-lived under the second patroon constitution, with the longest reign being 12 years. Effectively, these stadtholders held very little actual power. Power and influence was concentrated within a few people in a junta, with some members from the Patroon council and the Constitution Committee. The junta, colloquially called "De Raedt" (the council), was virtually capable of installing or removing stadtholders arbitrarily.
Seven stadtholders served under the second patroon constitution, namely: Jan-Maryn de Boetsselaer (1874-1876), Johan de Kleyn (1876-1880), Albertus May (1880-1892), Carel van Twiller (1892-1896), Quincey van Moock (1896-1900), and Theodorus de Gelüs-Clérisseau (1900-1903). These stadtholders are sometimes coloquially referred to as the "marionet" stadtholders (from Amerikaans marionet, meaning puppet). Most notable of these stadtholders was de Gelüs-Clérisseau, the last stadtholder of New Netherland prior to the 1903 revolution, and led the country during the outbreak of the Dutch-Mexican War.
|No.||Name||Reign||Duration of Reign||Notes|
|1||Marÿn van der Beeke||1796||1811||15 years|
|2||Isaac Kuyter||1811||1822||11 years|
|3||Hendrick I van Ackerhuys||1822||1836||14 years|
|4||Hendrick II van Ackerhuys||1836||1855||19 years|
|5||Lodewÿck van Ackerhuys||1855||1870||15 years|
|6||Herman de Carpentier||1870||1874||4 years|
|7||Jan-Maryn de Boetsselaer||1874||1876||2 years|
|8||Johan de Kleyn||1876||1880||4 years|
|9||Albertus May||1880||1884||4 years||
|10||Carel van Twiller||1884||1888||4 years|
|11||Quincey van Moock||1888||1900||12 years||
|12||Theodorus de Gelüs-Clérisseau||1900||1903||3 years|
Reign of Quincey van Moock (1888-1900) and the Van Moock Customs Scandal (1900)
Quincey van Moock was a Nieuw Anglian patroon elected into the stadtholderate in 1888to replace Carel van Twiller. He was known for his moderate policies towards diplomacy and international trade. However, he was most notorious for the Moock Customs Scandal in 1900, where it was discovered that over 1.25 Million Daalders in customs receipts and tariff revenues were embezzled under his oversight since he took office in 1888. Several prominent patroons were also implicated in the scandal, including former stadtholder Carel van Twiller. The Patroon Council temporarily suspended Van Moock on September 3, 1900, and appointed Theodorus de Gelüs-Clérisseau as the acting stadtholder while the council conducts an internal investigation.
Several independent investigative journalists, most notably from the bilingual English/Amerikaans publication De Amerikaense Telegraef, launched separate investigations regarding the matter, exposing the corruption within the government of New Netherland. On September 5, a physical altercation occurred between Van Moock and prominent journalist Nicolaes van Dam, the latter being beaten by Van Moock using an iron cane after he was caught spying on the Van Moock estate in Nieuhaven. Newspapers inside and outside of New Netherland publicized the incident and caused public outrage.
Van Moock was arrested over the incident on the same day. A month later, the Patroon Council declared Van Moock guilty on charges of fraud and embezzlement, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment and exile to the remote island territory of Curaçao. Despite this, the public was still outraged, sparking several riots in New Amsterdam and Nieuwhaven.
It is accepted among contemporary historians that Van Moock was a scapegoat to cover the more extensive corruption within the Patroon Council.
Jan Theodorus de Gelüs-Clérisseau, last stadtholder of New Netherland (1900-1903)
Jan Theodorus de Gelüs-Clérisseau (born Jean Théodore Clérisseau) was a lawyer and patroon in New Netherland. He was of Meerenlander French and Amerikaner descent, his father being from the Francophone province of Meerenland, Tussenland who fled to New Netherland during the Tussenland Upheavals (1859-1861). His mother, Sophia, was the heiress of the de Gelüs patroonship. Theodorus inherited the de Gelüs estate when his mother died in 1883, with his father deemed ineligible to the inheritance and his elder brother dying years prior.
Theodorus joined the Patroon Council after his grandfather and representative of the De Gelüs patroonship to the Patroon Council, Jacobus de Gelüs, died in 1898. He adopted the Amerikaner name Jan Theodorus de Gelüs-Clérisseau in the same year.
Role in the Dutch-Mexican War (1901-1903)
New Netherland had been in friendly terms with the Kingdom of the Netherlands since the mid-1800s, and had been providing military and naval access to the Dutch colony of Tussenland, which had been landlocked from the Atlantic after the 2nd Dutch-Spanish War (1850-1855). New Netherland had also provided active military support to the Netherlands during the Tussenland Upheavals (1859-1861). In 1900, the Kingdom of the Netherlands became embroiled in a new conflict against the Mexican Empire over the territories of Acansa and Misürie, and had once again requested support from New Netherland. The Patroon Council saw this as an opportunity to divert public attention away from the ongoing corruption scandals. Stadtholder Theodorus de Gelüs-Clérisseau, who controlled the New Netherland military, approved of the use of the military to aid the Dutch. On November 26, 1901, New Netherland declared war on the Mexican Empire. 35000 men and women were sent to Dutch Tussenland to participate in the war.
The New Netherland Republican Revolution (1903)
New Netherland's participation in the war was heavily unpopular with the New Netherland populace, which cited the lack of transparency over the decisions. Mass revolts broke out in New Amsterdam and New Anglia in 1902, led by a coalition of peasant farmers and working class citizens outraged by the corruption, lack of social welfare, lack of transparency, and the general political backwardness of New Netherland. With most of New Netherland's military fighting the war in Dutch Tussenland, it was up to the ill-equipped New Netherland Constabulary to keep the peace. By January 1903, what were loosely-related and isolated uprisings in New Netherland turned into a concentrated and well-coordinated effort to overthrow the Patroon Government of New Netherland. In the same month, Theodorus de Gelüs-Clérisseau hastily sent orders to fully withdraw the New Netherland forces from the frontlines, and help in quelling the revolts in the home country. However, logistical difficulties due to the long distances resulted in a delayed response from the military. On February 18, 1903, the revolutionaries were able to take over the Unity Palace in New Amsterdam. Revolutionaries declared the abolishment of the stadtholderate and the establishment of a provisionary Republic of New Netherland.
Theodorus de Gelüs-Clérisseau fled north to Schenecktadie and urged support from their neighboring countries in against the revolts. However, he was eventually arrested in the same month, along with some of the members of the Patroon Council implicated in the Van Moock Customs Scandal three years earlier.
The Republican era (1903-)
After a new constitution was ratified in June 1903, a special election was held in July. Bertelmeus "Mees" van Haerst was sworn in as the first raedspensionaris of New Netherland, the highest executive government position in the new republic. The new government is a unitary parliamentary republic, composed of the executive (led by the raedspensionaris), legislative (a bicameral States-General), and judicial branches. Mees van Haerst's party, the NNL Unity Party (Amerikaens: NNL Înheydtspartÿ), dominated the seats within the States-General. The NNL Unity Party was a coalition party composed of representatives from the different socio-economic sectors of New Netherland.
New Netherland under the NNL Unity Party (1903-1911)
Mees van Haerst and his party were able to stay in power for eight years (2 terms of 4 years). Historians attribute these to several reasons:
- They acted upon the demands of the various sectors (Land Reform Act of 1903, Labor Code of 1905, National Bank Act of 1907, Women's Vote Act of 1910, et cetera). Most notable was the land reform act, which redistributed the lands of the former patroons to the rural peasants who worked the land.
- A common anti-Dutch sentiment after Dutch ships began raiding NNL merchant ships during their blockade of the Atlantic (following Tussenland's independence).
The Quasi-War against the Kingdom of the Netherlands (1906-1908)
Back in 1905, New Netherland supported the Federation of Tussenland in their independence against the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Dutch conducted a blockade of the Gulf of Mexico to prevent Tussenlander ships from entering or exiting the Atlantic. However, goods and resources could still be shipped to Tussenland due to their Pacific ports and through New Netherland. Naturally, in September 1905, this blockade eventually extended to the seas of New Netherland. At first, NNL ships could pass through with ease through the blockade, as the Dutch only targeted Tussenlander ships. However, this changed when on February 1, 1906, the Dutch warship Amsterdam sunk the JHS Restaurasie, a merchant ship owned by the Jonkman Shipping Company based in New Netherland. New Netherland issued a diplomatic protest against the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but both sides took no further diplomatic action.
Instead, New Netherland mandated the outfitting of merchant ships with weaponry in order for them to defend themselves in case of a Dutch attack. This soon rapidly developed into an undeclared naval war between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and New Netherland. In 1906, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was able to sink four more ships of New Netherland. This rapidly escalated into an undeclared naval war between the two powers. The Dutch had the upper hand in 1906, but the tides were quickly turned in the following years. The Quasi-War catalyzed New Netherland's ship production, enabling them to outfit and deploy new submarines and armed merchant ships. The willingness of the Dutch to continue the blockade gradually started to wane in 1908, as their ships were constantly harassed by NNL merchant ships and submarine fleets. Since this was an undeclared war, there was no formal conclusion to the Quasi-War. However, the last naval encounter between NNL and the Netherlands was on April 4, 1910.
The aftermath of the Quasi-War to NNL Politics, and the fracturing of the Unity Party
During the Quasi-War (1906-1908), the NNL Unity Party's popularity was high. However, after tensions cooled down, the party's constituents started to focus back again on domestic issues. Conflicting interests within the party led to its fracturing. The original NNL Unity Party still existed, but its supporters now mainly consisted of former peasants-turned-landowners in the rural areas. During the 1911 General Elections, the following parties vied for seats in the NNL States-General: the Unity Party, the Progressive Party, the Labor Party, and the Communard Party. Magnus Bartelsz of the Progressive Party was elected as the new raedspensionaris in 1911.
Progressive Party Rule (1911-1927)
After the Progressive Party (Amerikaens: Progressievpartÿ) took power in 1911, the government of New Netherland brought in a new era of social and political reform. The 1910s to 1930s has been known as the "Golden Era" of New Netherland, in terms of both economic growth and political reform. The Progressive Party introduced many reforms including the Tax Reform Act of 1912, Social Reform and Poverty Act of 1913, and most notably the Women's Vote Act of 1914. Women's suffrage, which had been promised by the Mees van Haerst's Unity Party in the early 1900s, had only been realized by the Progressive Party in 1914. The pool of new voters in the 1915 National Elections of New Netherland led to Bartelsz reelection for a second term. The primary opposition parties during this period were the Communard-Labor Party and Democratic-Labor parties.
In 1915, Bartelsz launched a campaign to crack down on organized crime and mobster violence, which arose from the rampant smuggling during the years of the Quasi-War (1906-1910). More often, these groups of mobs were based around rivalling immigrant and worker groups, and had explicit political ties to the labor and communard parties of New Netherland. During the periods between 1915-1925, several arrests have been made, including high-profile personalities affiliated with the labor-communard alliance. The Progressive Party's use of propaganda was heavy, often linking the mobs, and by extension, the labor-communard party, to the secret police of Dictatorial France under Grand Marshal Camille Laframboise. These "anti-mob" policies were continued by Bartelsz' successors, Johannes Karsen and Maurits Thomas Hudson.
Involvement in the Floridan Independence War (1925)
During Maurits Thomas Hudson's tenure as raedspensionaris, the largest debate in government came near the end of his tenure. The progressive party's opinion on the Floridan Independence movement during the late 1920s was split. During the European Economic Crisis of the first half of the 1920s, The Dominion of Florida (under Spain) sold large holdings of land and sharecropping contracts to New Netherlander businessmen in order to stay afloat. Hudson believed that it was New Netherland's responsibility to protect the interests of these New Netherlanders, and concluded that it intervention was necessary. Hudson passed a motion to support Spain in their war against the Floridan revolutionaries, and narrowly passed the States-General. In 1925, New Netherland officially declared their support for Spain and the Dominion of Florida. This move upset Mexican politicians, who had been supporting Florida's independence from Spain.
Over the course of the war from 1925-1929, New Netherland's support started off as economic assistance to Spain, but eventually grew into aerial scouting missions and direct military support, but only in a supporting role. The war was widely publicized at home, with the government publicizing images of New Netherlander aircraft and mercenaries in action in Florida. The Battle of Amarillo, in particular, captivated the New Netherland public into support for the war. However, despite the heroic imagery of New Netherland, the war was not going well for Spain and New Netherland. Skeptics in New Netherland started to question the massive investment of the government into the war effort, even causing a schism of opinion within the ruling Progressive Party itself. Despite this, Hudson remain committed to the war effort, as he believed that it would be an undesirable image for the Progressive Party during the upcoming 1927 elections.
A group of progressives split off from the Progressive Party and teamed up with several members from Înheydspartÿ (Unity Party), New Netherland's first ruling political party after the 1903 revolution. They formed a new political alliance, called the Vrÿlotpartÿ (or Free Destiny Party in English). The new party was led by Christiaen Huysman, nephew of New Netherland's second raedspensionaris, Magnus Bartelsz. The Free Destiny Party called for the end of New Netherland's involvement in the Floridan Independence War, which they saw as a hopeless and wasteful endeavor. The party also employed the use of muckrakers to discredit the incumbent government.
New Netherland under the Free Destiny Party (1927-1930s)
The Free Destiny party won the 1927 elections, and after the port city of Santa Cruz fell to the rebels on 9 March 1927, immediately formally dropped out of the conflict. The new government of New Netherland pressured the Spanish to surrender. Spain eventually surrendered on 12 April 1927, and the independent Republic of Florida was established.
The government of Christiaen Huysman introduced new regulations in New Netherland economic policy, most notably the regularization of railroad rates and expansion of the education system. Huysman also introduced the New Netherland Organization Act of 1930, which created several new executive ministries and departments, aimed to delegate the various aspects of governance such as economics, resource management, science and technology to subject matter experts, in what he called a "government aided by experts." Christiaen Huysman was slated to run for raedspensionaris, but due to failing health, had withdrew his leadership of the Free Destiny Party to his right hand man, Jan Kaspar Knip. Knip and the Free Destiny Party won the elections of 1931.
Jan Kaspar Knip and the "American Way" (1931)
Jan Kaspar Knip, inducted as Raedspensionaris in 1931, introduced the concept of the "American Way." Knip believed that New Netherland, as the first nation to gain independence in North America, had the responsibility to lead the construction of an independent "American Community of Nations," together sharing ideals against European neocolonialism and corruption, while building stronger ties with each other. Knip took many steps in the hopes of realizing this dream. He began new diplomatic relations with the Republic of Florida. Most notably, Knip involved New Netherland during the Virginian Coup of 1934, where New Netherland sponsored and supported Virginian revolutionaries in overthrowing the Prohibitionists, which had been in power in Virginia since the Virginian Civil War (1911). In 1936, Knip lauded New England Prime Minister Montgomery for his statement against the sending of New England troops to fight the Great War, while criticizing Tussenland for joining the war on the Cordial League's side. By late 1936, Knip expressed vague interest in supporting New England's separatism from Great Britain.