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Early Eighteenth-Century Political Languages

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates that early eighteenth-century Dutch political discourse was both lively and sophisticated and therefore well worth studying. Perhaps the prevailing malaise in the study of Dutch early eighteenth-century political thought is best remedied by attempting a new beginning. Instead of hastily indulging in moral condemnation, in aprioristic dismissal or in retrospective judgments of irrelevance, historians might more profitably start with a systematic analysis of the political discourse of the period. It is through such intensive study of the contemporary political vocabulary that our understanding of this era, which certainly was not the cultural desert it is often held to be, may gain in depth and exactitude. The chapter contributes to such a renewed study of early eighteenth-century political discourse by demonstrating that the late 1730s witnessed an exciting political debate, in which differences of a fundamental nature emerged between republicans and Orangists.

Keywords: Dutch political discourse; early eighteenth-century; Orangists; republicans



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