A Perfect Babel of Confusion: Dutch Religion and English Culture in the Middle Colonies

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Examining the interaction of the Dutch and the English in colonial New York and New Jersey, this study charts the decline of European culture in North America. Balmer argues that the combination of political intrigue, English cultural imperialism, and internal socio-economic tensions eventually drove the Dutch away from their hereditary customs, language, and culture. He shows how this process, which played itself out most visibly and poignantly in the Dutch Reformed Church between 1664 and the American Revolution, illustrates the difficulty of maintaining non-English cultures and institutions in an increasingly English world. A Perfect Babel of Confusion redresses some of the historiographical neglect of the Middle Colonies and, in the process, sheds new light on Dutch colonial culture.