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Van godsdienstvrijheid naar mensenrecht. Meningsvorming over censuur en persvrijheid in de Republiek, 1579-1795

Author:

J. van Eijnatten

NL
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Abstract

From religious liberty to human right. The development of public opinion on censorship and press freedom in the Dutch Republic, 1579-1795, Joris van Eijnatten
Most studies on censorship and freedom of the press in the early modern (northern) Netherlands focus on legislation concerning, and the actual practice of, governmental and ecclesiastical censorship. By contrast, ideas on, and theories of, press freedom and censorship have all but been neglected. This may be due to the fact that the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century pamphlet literature does not live up to the expectations of historians expecting to find principled defences of press freedom. Yet censorship (or the lack of it) was never based exclusively on practical considerations. There have always been supporters of (a certain measure of) press freedom. Which arguments did they employ in the public domain? This paper discusses the variety of arguments adduced by authors ranging from Dirk Volckertsz Coornhert to Adriaan Kluit, thus offering, in the process, an overview of the gradual development of public opinion on censorship and press freedom in the Dutch Republic between 1579 and 1795. A typology of the various arguments used by early modern writers is introduced, and it is suggested that this classification may be used for further comparative research into theories of press freedom in western Europe and the Americas between 1550 and 1800.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18352/bmgn-lchr.5777
How to Cite: Eijnatten, J. van ., 2003. Van godsdienstvrijheid naar mensenrecht. Meningsvorming over censuur en persvrijheid in de Republiek, 1579-1795. BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, 118(1), pp.1–21. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/bmgn-lchr.5777
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Published on 01 Jan 2003.
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