A Perfect Babel of Confusion

Dutch Religion and English Culture in the Middle Colonies
Balmer, Randall
Date published: 
October 1989

This important study examines the transformation of European culture in North America. Making use of both primary and secondary sources, Balmer identifies, as no one else has to date, the manner in which socio-economic concerns of Dutch merchants and clerics combined with policies engineered by English officials in England and America to destroy the integrity of Dutch language, religious practice, and legal customs in the New World. Enlivening his subject with te lling anecdotes and character sketches, Balmer takes the reader `inside' the Dutch Reformed Church and shows how divisions within the church persisted well into the Revolutionary era. These divisions, he conclusively demonstrates, provide the most accurate predictor of political sympathies among Dutch colonists during the American Revolution.