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Open Access 2. A Contested Past. Memory Wars during the Twelve Years Truce (1609–21)

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2. A Contested Past. Memory Wars during the Twelve Years Truce (1609–21)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the 'memory war' between Arminian 'Remonstrants' and Gomarist 'Counter-Remonstrants' in the 1610s, and offers an explanation of why canonical memories were time and again used as a rhetorical battleground on which opposing political factions carried out their disputes. It shows that when historical interpretations are used to support two contradictory agendas, a political disagreement can also become a conflict about the appropriation and correct reading of the past. An analysis of this phenomenon contributes to the understanding of why public memories of the Revolt remained politically relevant in the seventeenth century Low Countries. During the Twelve Years Truce, Remonstrants and Counter-Remonstrants contested the moral ownership of the communal past. They both drew from the inclusive canonical narratives about the Revolt to bolster their arguments and thereby turned the past into a rhetorical battleground.

Keywords: 'memory war'; Arminian 'Remonstrants'; canonical memories; Gomarist 'Counter-Remonstrants'; Low Countries; Revolt; rhetorical battleground



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