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The Concept Of Liberty In The Dutch Republic, 1780–1787

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Chapter Summary

The historiography concerning the Dutch Patriottentijd, the period of political upheaval between 1780 and 1787, is marked by a curious paradox. This chapter demonstrates that the dominant view of Patriot political thought as essentially moderate, backward looking and lacking in innovative content is fundamentally flawed. It first presents some general remarks about the study of the concept of liberty in the late eighteenth century, the available sources, and the relevant historical context. Then it traces the development of the concept of liberty in the crucial years between 1780 and 1787 and shows how the Patriots brought a fundamental change in its meaning. Finally, the chapter briefly addresses the Orangist or conservative use of the concept of liberty during these same years.

Keywords: concept of liberty; Dutch Patriottentijd; late eighteenth century; Orangist; Patriot political thought



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