The Ideological Origins of the Batavian Revolution
The "age of the democratic revolution" 1 in the Dutch Republic cul minated in two revolutions: the aborted Patriot Revolution of 1787 and the more successful Batavian Revolution of 1795. For the United Provinces that age had begun after a series of crises in 1747 and resulted in the un precedented establishment of a single individual in the office of chief executive in all of the component provinces. The new form which emerged from the foreign and domestic threats of midcentury was that of a hereditary Stadhouder in the House of Orange. That family had served the Dutch state in varying capacities and with disparate consequences from its inception in the Revolt of the sixteenth century, through the triumphs of the Golden Era, to the less glorious days of the Periwig Period. The accession of William IV in 1747, his early death followed by a lengthy regency from 1752, and the accession of his son, William V, as "eminent head" of each province and chief officer of the Generality in 1766, all brought forth renewed scrutiny of the family and the offices of the Princes of Orange in the political life of the Republic. Those who were most critical of the new powers of the Stadhouderate and most desirous of reducing the dangers they saw threatening the state from the aggrandizement of that office, came to usurp the nearly exclusive use of the hoary title of Patriot.