Re-Thinking Thanksgiving at Yonkers
Thanksgiving is commemorative of the English Pilgrim settlement of what would become the United States. However, the laws and liberties we now hold dear are more the heritage of the Republican Dutch than the Feudal British. Later English settlers co-opted the traditions of the Dutch and laid a narrative which honors England’s contributions to America. But as we will see, the long forgotten Dutch had a far larger role in laying down rituals that elevated laws over tyrants.
I-87n: Westchester, Nr Bronxville, Yonkers, mm 16.5 south of EXIT 6A
In a moment you will see Tuckahoe Road. Its name means corn-bread in the Lenapay Indian language. Meanwhile, the story of Yonkers' namesake is the story about a founder of liberal capitalism in America.
In the 1640’s Adrien Vander Donck received a grant of land from the Dutch East India Company. Adrien built one of the first saw mills in the New World at the junction of the Hudson River and a smaller river. That river and a parkway beside it are now named Saw Mill River.
Vander Donck was referred to in the Dutch language as “Jung Herr” or "young Gentleman" and this name evolved to become the present Yonkers.
Adrien Vander Donck's lost story was uncovered recently in forgotten archives in Albany. The story of Adrien essentially tells the story of the Dutch influence on the founding of the United States. Its capitalistic democracy, the book claims, was much different from British feudal intentions. The Best Selling Book, ISLAND AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD, by Russell Shorto tells this story:
“When the British wrested New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664, the truth about its thriving, multilingual society began to disappear into myths about an island purchased for 24 dollars and a cartoonish peg-legged governor.
But the story of the Dutch colony was merely lost, not destroyed: 12,000 pages of its records–recently declared a national treasure–are now being translated. Drawing on this archive, Russell Shorto has created a gripping narrative; a story of global sweep centered on a wilderness called Manhattan–that transforms our understanding of early America.
The Dutch colony pre-dated the “original” thirteen colonies, yet it seems strikingly familiar. Its capital was cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic, and its citizens valued free trade, individual rights, and religious freedom. Their champion was a progressive young lawyer named Adrian VanderDonck, who emerges in these pages as a forgotten American patriot and whose political vision brought him into conflict with Peter Stuyvesant the autocratic director of the Dutch colony.
The struggle between liberalism and autocracy laid the foundation for New York City and helped shape American culture. The Island at the Center of the World uncovers a lost world and offers a surprising new perspective on our own modern American culture.”
No surprise: that struggle between autocracy and liberalism continues very much to this day, many hundreds of Thanksgivings after Britain and Holland first came to America.
Happy Thanksgiving!... or should we rather say:
#Dutch #Thanksgiving #Islandatthecenteroftheworld #RussellShorto #NewAmsterdam #NewYork #AdrienVanderdonck #nationaltreasure #Strugglebetweendemocracyandautocracy
Leave a Reply.