No society can function without laws, that set of established practices and expectations that guide the way people get along with one another and relate to ruling authorities. Although much has been written about the English roots of American law and jurisprudence, little attention has been paid until recently to the legacy left by the Dutch. In Opening Statements, a broad spectrum of eminent scholars examine the legal heritage that New Netherland bequeathed to New York in the seventeenth century. Even after the transfer of the colony to England placed New York under English Common Law rather than Dutch Roman Law, the Dutch system of jurisprudence continued to influence evolving American concepts of governance, liberty, women’s rights, and religious freedom in ways that still resonate in today’s legal culture.
The TOC after the jump.
1. “…a well regulated country where justice and government prevail,” by Martha Dickinson Shattuck
2. The Souls of New Amsterdam’s African American Children, by Joyce D. Goodfriend
3. Matters of “Trifling Moment”: New Netherland and the New York Tradition of Arbitration, by Troy A. McKenzie and Wilson C. Freeman
4. The Declaration of Independence and the Dutch Legacy, by Wijnand W. Mijnhardt
5. Real Estate or Political Sovereignty? The Dutch, Munsees, and the Purchase of Manhattan Island, by Paul Otto
6. Crimen Læsæ Maiestatis or Abuse of Power? The 1647 Trial of Cornelis Melijn and Jochem, by Pietersz Kuijter and Jaap Jacobs
7. Imagining the Stadt Huys, by Diana diZerega Wall and Anne-Marie Cantwell
8. Prosecution or Persecution? The 1657 Flushing Incident, by Charles Gehring
9. Lutherans and the Law in New Netherland: The Politics of Religion, by Peter R. Christoph
10. A Flourishing City: Jews in New Amsterdam, 1654, by Leo Hershkowitz
11. Governors Island and the Origins of Religious Tolerence, by Joep de Koning
12. Marital Litigations in New Netherland and Proprietary New York: Similarities and Differences in Application of Dutch and English Law, by Michael E. Gherke
13. English Law through Dutch Eyes: The Leislerian Understanding of the English Legal System in New York, by David William Voorhees