Why did Dutch merchants petition the Amsterdam city council for free trade in the English Empire in the middle of the Dutch Golden Age? And why was there a plan for a Dutch American Company to protect trade in the English colonies in Barbados, Virginia, and the Leeward Islands? This project posits that both were creations of a transnational advocacy network (TAN). This TAN was a cooperation between Dutch merchants and English planters in the English Atlantic colonies. This Research Action emphasizes the interdependent nature of economic interests and political decision making in international politics and diplomacy in the Early Modern period. Such an approach illuminates the historical origins of TANs predating the nineteenth century and challenges the strict national framework of petitions. This proposal highlights the importance of non-state actors in international affairs and empire building. Moreover, this approach adds a novel Atlantic perspective to both the English Civil Wars and the (first) Anglo-Dutch War(s). Finally, this project is a unique case to answer the question why a successful transnational economic network attempted to become a formal, state-chartered, organization called the Dutch America Company. This research has a two-pronged approach.  Reconstruct the economic exposure of the petitioners; linking names and signatures to notarial deeds relating to these English colonies.  Reconstruct the TAN’s coordination and strategy by comparing rhetoric and argumentation between petitions and diplomatic correspondence and pamphlets.
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