The Dutch Maritime Republic, Liberty, Free Trade, and Self-Government


This conference explored the rise of the Dutch Republic as a naval, commercial, and financial power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Issues of the political structure of the Dutch Republic were examined, with special attention to precursors of federalism. The relationship between domestic governance and international trade and commerce was considered.


From Liberty Fund

The Free Sea

by By Hugo Grotius
Translated by Richard Hakluyt
Edited and with an Introduction by David Armitage

Liberty Fund’s edition of The Free Sea is the only translation of Grotius’s masterpiece undertaken in his own lifetime, left in manuscript by the English historian, Richard Hakluyt (1552–1616). It also contains William Welwod’s critique of Grotius (reprinted for the first time since the seventeenth century) and Grotius’s reply to…

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Additional Readings

Althusius, Johannes. Politica. Translated by Frederick S. Carney. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995.

Boxer, C. R. The Dutch Seaborne Empire, 1600-1800. London: Hutchinson, 1965.

de la Court, Pieter. The True Interest and Political Maxims of the Republic of Holland. London: John Campbell, Esquire, 1746.

Glete, Jan, “Cities, State Formation and the Protection of Trade in Northern Europe, 1200-1700” In The Dynamics of Economic Culture in the North Sea and Baltic Region: In the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Period, edited by Hanno Brand and Leos Müller, 13-23. Hilversum: Verloren Publishers, 2007.

Grotius, Hugo. “On the Emendation of the Dutch Polity.” Grotiana 5, no. 1 (1984): 67-121.

Hume, David. Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary. Edited by Eugene F. Miller. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1985.

Mandeville, Bernard. The Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices, Publick Benefits, Volume I. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1988.

Usselincx, Willem. More Excellent Obseruations of the Estate and Affaires of Holland. Ann Arbor: EEBO Editions, ProQuest, 1622, 2010.