The Flushing Remonstrance
The Flushing Remonstrance is the one first documents, if not the first, in the New World to establish religious freedom. But more importantly for NYC history, it epitomizes the liberal Dutch tradition of tolerance that was forced on the English when they captured New Amsterdam, ironically by Stuyvesant to whom it was originally addressed. Stuyvesant had banned Quaker practice. The Remonstrance was an appeal to Dutch law which had already enshrined religious liberty. The appeal was eventually upheld by the governors of the Dutch West India Company, overruling Stuyvesant. However, a year later, during the negotiations of the terms of surrender with the English, Stuyvesant argued for and won the continuation of the tolerant policies. This established New York as the liberal anomaly among the cities of English New World.