1653

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No Taxation without Representation!

The English and the Dutch have been settling Long Island for years with the Dutch congregating around New Amsterdam and the English on the east side of Long Island. Since the Dutch have dominion over the region they require the English colonists to take an oath to obey Dutch laws and to grant the Dutch final approval for elections and laws. However, the Dutch rarely exercised control over the English until recently. The English towns have been cutting into Dutch business so the (Last) Dutch Governor has made arbitrary decisions using his powers granted by "God and the Company" (meaning the Dutch West Indies Company) to resolve these conflicts including taxing the English. There is a rumor that the Governor is planning to attack the English settlers, so the English have risen up in rebellion. They say they are only claiming the rights that "the laws of nature give to all men." Apparently that includes no taxation without representation. The rebellion will be put down but nothing will change. Years later when the governor cracks down on Quaker religious practices, all Hell will break loose and historians will claim that the 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion will derive from the mistreatment of the Quakers by this Dutch Governor. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Several things were happening at the time. For one, the Dutch were at war with the English at sea over the Navigation Laws that England had passed which gave England exclusive rights to shipping. Secondly, the English population was booming. The Dutch population was not. It is difficult to enforce a claim over land if there are not enough people there to claim it. And then there were the normal problems with raucous frontier towns such as the drunkenness, theft and bedlam that occurs at any trading post as strangers with stuff to buy and sell come wandering through. The Dutch Governor wanted to bring order to this hullabaloo, but he didn't have the numbers, in terms of Dutch settlers, nor the legitimacy with the English because of his arbitrary land and tax policies. Eventually the Dutch unloaded New Netherlands onto the English in exchange for one of the Spice Islands that England controlled. The Dutch laughed up their sleeves but you know how that all worked out for the USA. [3] [4] [5]

John Casor Walks Away from Slavery *

It had to start somewhere. John Casor is a black man who claims he is an indentured servant and that he contracted to work for "7 to 8 years" but after 14 years he is making claim against his master to be set free. Who is his master? Anthony Johnson who owns a large plot of land along the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Anthony Johnson is also a black man. He claims that there was no indentured contract and that John Casor is a slave for life but with two witnesses, John wins his freedom in court. Unfortunately, Anthony is not done with John. He will take John to court in a counter claim that one of the witnesses, Robert Parker, had lied. The court will rule in favor of Anthony and John will be forced to return to his service for life. Robert Parker will be forced to pay the court costs. [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Please note that contracts for indentured servitude were not necessarily written documents and a lot of people couldn't read anyway so you could be waving a grocery list at them and they wouldn't know the difference. Thus witnesses were very important in such disputes. This isn't the first English court case concerning slaves, but it is the first where the slave made an official claim for freedom through the courts. There were very few laws concerning slavery at that time, but the courts seemed more than willing to side with the master rather than the slave. I doubt that race entered into it in the sense that we think of race today. It was probably skin color that was more important. At the time there was a strong belief that people with black skin were cursed by God. It is called "the Curse of Ham." One of the sons of Noah looked upon his father's nakedness and was cursed but no change in skin color is mentioned in the Bible. Neither do subsequent Jewish religious writings mention such an idea, so it was probably cooked up by the slavers to justify what they were doing. [7] [8]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1653, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Bernard Bailyn. The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600–1675. Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 9780307960825. “Community autonomy, as it was known in New England, seemed entirely missing, and the governed had no representation in the government that ruled and taxed them. Grievances mounted. Squabbles between and within the villages multiplied, violence threatened, and the sense prevailed, among both the Dutch and English villagers, that since their rights and properties were not protected, the government that bound them lacked legitimacy.” 
  2. Peter Stuyvesant (New Netherlands's Last Governor) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 27 September 2015. “Stuyvesant's accomplishments as director-general included a great expansion for the settlement of New Amsterdam beyond the southern tip of Manhattan. Among the projects built by Stuyvesant's administration were the protective wall on Wall Street, the canal that became Broad Street, and Broadway.”
  3. Navigation Acts - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 22 September 2015. “On the whole, the Acts of Trade and Navigation were obeyed, except for the Molasses Act of 1733, which led to extensive smuggling because no effective means of enforcement was provided until the 1750s. Irritation because of stricter enforcement under the Sugar Act of 1764 became one source of resentment by merchants in the American colonies against Great Britain. This in turn helped push the colonies to start the American Revolution.”
  4. First Anglo-Dutch War - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 27 September 2015. “The First Anglo-Dutch War (1652–54) was the first of the four Anglo-Dutch Wars. It was fought entirely at sea between the navies of the Commonwealth of England and the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Caused by disputes over trade, the war began with English attacks on Dutch merchant shipping, but expanded to vast fleet actions. Ultimately, it resulted in the English Navy gaining control of the seas around England, and forced the Dutch to accept an English monopoly on trade with England and her colonies.”
  5. New Amsterdam - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 27 September 2015. “New Amsterdam was renamed New York on September 8, 1664, in honor of the then Duke of York (later James II of England), in whose name the English had captured it. In 1667 the Dutch gave up their claim to the town and the rest of the colony, in exchange for control of the Spice Islands.”
  6. Russell, John Henderson (1913). The free Negro in Virginia, 1619-1865. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. 
  7. Curse of Ham - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 27 September 2015. “A number of other scholars also support the claim that the racialized version of the Curse of Ham was devised at that time because it suited ideological and economical interests of the European elite and slave traders who wanted to justify exploitation of African labour.”
  8. Racism: A History (BBC 2007) - 1/3. YouTube (2015). Retrieved on 27 September 2015. “A documentary which is exploring the impact of racism on a global scale, as part of the season of programmes marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slave trade (but not slavery itself) in the British Empire.”

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