Compelling Question: How did the Dutch govern New Netherland? 

Setting the Stage: Read aloud Kiliaen Van Rensselaer’s letter to Arendt Van Curler, May 10th, 1638. What has Arendt Van Curler been tasked with doing for his cousin Kiliaen? What does that tell you about New Netherland? 

Letter from Kiliaen Van Rensselaer to Arendt Van Curler, May 10th 1638 

Supporting Question #1: What purpose(s) did New Netherland serve and how was it governed? 

Featured Sources: 

Charter of the Dutch West India Company June 3rd, 1621 (Articles I-VI) 

Ordinance of the Colony of Rensselaerswyck Prohibiting Freemen and Private Traders Oct. 10th, 1642

Ordinance of the Colony of Rensselaerswyck Prohibiting Inhabitants of the Colony from Trading Oct. 18th, 1642

Formative Assessment #1: Compare and contrast the DWIC’s Charter with the laws outlined by the Colony of Rensselaerswyck using a Venn diagram.

Supporting Question #2: What were some of the challenges to the Dutch West India Company's authority? 

Featured Sources: 

Ordinance Against Clandestine Trade June 7th, 1638 (Coupled with Article XV of the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions, 1629) 

Adriaen Van Der Donck "On the Reasons and Causes of Why New Netherland is So Decayed" 1650 (Coupled with Van Der Donck's Petition from May 26th, 1653)

Formative Assessment #2: Fill out a discussion web with 1 claim for every document, and text-based evidence to support each claim, examining how each document represents a challenge to the DWIC.

Supporting Question #3: To what degree were the colonists of New Netherland free? Did everyone share in this degree of freedom equally?

Featured Sources: 

Half-Freedom Manumission Petitions, February 25th, 1644 

Fort Orange Extraordinary Sessions, August 1st & August 20th, 1657 (Coupled with Peelen/Pieters family marriage contract, July 3rd, 1643)

Flushing Remonstrance, 1657

Formative Assessment #3: Write a quick response paper reflecting on the life experiences of a specific ethnic, religious, gender, or socioeconomic group answering the above question with citations to relevant texts.

Summative Assessment: 

Write a 2-3 page argumentative paper utilizing at least 5 of the primary sources provided in this unit with in-text citations. The paper will answer the compelling question: “Were the Dutch successful in governing New Netherland?” and must include an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Extension Activity

Compare and contrast New Netherland with the colonies of Virginia, Massachusetts Bay, and New France. How did the Dutch do things differently? What common trends do we see in these colonial experiments?

Taking Informed Action: 

Are there any laws or public policies that are in place in your community that you feel favor the few at the expense of the many? Write a local representative on the issue underlining your proposals for change.

Created with Support from the Bender Family Foundation