This study focuses on the question in what way the council and people of the barony of IJsselstein used their autonomous position within the Dutch Republic. What possibilities and what problems were created by that special position? The research covers the period between 1730 and 1820. The autonomy meant that IJsselstein could issue his own laws and decisions. It could offer asylum to people that had fallen foul of the law in the Dutch Republic. This came to an end when Marie Louise van Hessen-Kassel became baroness of IJsselstein. She sought to actively attract a different class of citizen: pensioners with enough money to live in relative luxury, but with not enough wealth to be able to live on their capital in the bigger cities in Holland. To be attractive to these people, IJsselstein offered low taxation, a strong middle class, good schools and a nice environment for walking, gardening and hunting. This policy met with success. In 1749 the barony was described as a place for people who had earned their money with hard work and could now relax and live on their independent means. After her death her son, William V, took over the barony. His position deteriorated after a war with Great-Britain started. Many people blamed him for the militairy weakness of the Republic and its economic decline. Even in IJsselstein, his own barony, some people tried to infiltrate the local militia to start a democratic revolution. This led to strife within the barony’s government, but in the end the democrats, the so-calles Patriots, had to flee the Republic because of the Prussian Army that came to the rescue of William V. The French Revolution in 1789 gave the Patriots hope of a political change in the Dutch Republic. When the French armies scattered the Anglo-Dutch army and conquered the Republic in January 1795 a revolution followed in many cities, including IJsselstein. For IJsselstein this meant a long period of parytstrife between the moderate and radical Patriots. A big problem was the status of IJsselstein. As possession of the stadholder, William V, the French saw the barony as loot. To prevent a French pillage, the IJsselstein government decided to give up their political autonomy and become part of the province of Holland. They tried to keep their financial autonomy, so important for the local economy. Until 1802 this met with success. Then IJsselstein became part of the new Batavian Republic. War in the wake of the French ally meant ever increasing taxation. This meant the end for a prosporous IJsselstein. The rich inhabitants moved away also the other economic fundaments of the barony fell on hard times. The osier industry and the rope industry were throttled by the French blockade. The son of the last stadholder was crowned the first king of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1813. For the new king it was just another municipality. This made it very clear: the special position of IJsselstein had irreversibly ended
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