Moral Panic and Holland's Libertine Youth of the 1650's and 1660's

B.B. Roberts, L.F. Groenendijk

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Abstract

During the 1650s and 1660s, the Dutch Republic witnessed a wave of moral panic created by moralists. Every natural disaster, economic setback, and war that the Republic was involved in was considered to be a sign of God's wrath on Holland's newly acquired freedom, wealth, and secular society. Much of the finger-pointing was directed toward Holland's young people, who were accused of being vain, defying the Sabbath, visiting the theater, gambling, drinking, and fornicating. These accusations were, however, misplaced. This article examines the moral crusade of the 1650s and 1660s, and discovers that moralists were more upset that the Dutch Republic became a secular society and did not evolve into a theocratic state or "Dutch Israel," as they had hoped. Holland's youth were used as a scapegoat to create moral panic among political leaders, so they would reform Holland's secular society. © 2005 Sage Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-346
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Family History
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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