Filed under: brave new world | Tags: america, boston, economy, liberalism, new york, puritan, religion
Here is a quotation from Janera’s blog entry Triangle of Tolerance. Back at the founding, New Amsterdam was a free trade zone – and general liberalism flowed from economic policy into social spheres and back again – while Boston and other eastern cities, dominated by the puritan British, became defined by religious intolerance.
The thought is that generations and generations later we are still suffering by these attitudes and ideas. I find the mention of land rights particularly revealing – an industry and ideology has grown like barnacles, encrusted, around what originally may have been a simple and useful idea.
From the article –
According to Shorto, the free trading, tolerance, and keen business sense of the Dutch is still felt in America. The Dutch were the first to issue public shares in a company, and in New Amsterdam, an ethnically mixed group co-existed, trading with the Indians and making a profit, while pubs abounded and prostitution was pervasive. This was starkly different from the puritan English settlements of Boston and Hartford, which were much more religious, operating from the assumption that they had a God-given right to the land.
This small story has had a big impact on the American identity and culture, according to Shorto. Whilst some Americans need to identify with English purity, others accept the impact of other groups—Blacks, Latinos and the Dutch, among others—on the origins of America. While Russell was talking, I couldn’t help but think that this dichotomy has trickled down to modern-day American politics with the Republicans adhering to the puritan explanation of American history whilst the Democrats may be more inclined to acknowledge America as a true mix of ideas from its inception.
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