Republicans: Essays on Eighteenth-Century Dutch Political by Wyger Velema

By Wyger Velema

The inspiration of being freeborn republicans sure the eighteenth-century Dutch jointly. but underneath this common label, many primary ameliorations existed. This booklet explores the kinds of eighteenth-century Dutch republicanism. It thereby considerably contributes to our figuring out of a very important interval within the improvement of Dutch political notion.

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103 Yet while it is relatively easy to establish that the eighteenth-century Dutch prided themselves on being republicans, it is much more difficult to define what exactly they meant when they used that term. Indeed, as will become clear in the course of this book, it is impossible to reduce the many varieties of eighteenthcentury Dutch republicanism to one single definition. This observation, of course, equally applies to eighteenth-century republicanism in general. 106 Over the past decades, intensive scholarly debate about the nature and meaning of early modern republicanism has failed to lead to even a beginning of consensus.

The only realistic way to arrive at good government was to make the inevitable human self-interest promote the common good. 25 Secondly, it was perfectly clear that he would only be discussing the three pure forms of government, since any mixed form was equivalent to chaos and the disintegration of the body politic. Before he started his discussion of each of the three separate forms of government, however, he made a further point, which constituted his first blow against monarchy. In a short section of the Political Balance on the origins of the three forms of government, he pointed out that nobody in a political community was by nature born to rule or to be ruled.

48 He published many of his books in the Dutch Republic and got to know the country quite well during several extended visits, the first one being in 1767. 53 Yet filled as he was with admiration for Dutch republican civilization, Pilati also had an open eye for the problems the eighteenth-century Republic was confronted with. Through his intensive contacts with Dutch scholars and publicists, he possessed an intimate knowledge of the economic and political debates the Dutch were conducting among themselves, and in his Lettres sur la Hollande he expressed firm opinions on the issues at stake.

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