Perfect Babel of Confusion Dutch Religion and English Culture in the Middle Colonies


Balmer examines the clash of Dutch and English cultures in colonial New York and New Jersey and charts the decline of a European culture in North America. He shows that the combination of political intrigue, English cultural imperialism and internal socioeconomic tensions eventually drove the Dutch away from their hereditary customs, language and culture. After Leisler's Rebellion in 1689, the Dutch Reformed Church divided, largely along socioeconomic lines, into an orthodox camp, anchored in New York City, and a pietist faction whose stronghold lay in rural areas, especially northern New Jersey. Balmer argues that the divisions in the Dutch Reformed Church persisted into the Revolutionary era and that the religious alignments of the Dutch in the middle of the eighteenth century provide the most accurate predictors of political sympathies during the American Revolution.

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