Dutch Reformed Origin of the "American Dream"
The Dutch mark on America has been wide and deeper
than their small numbers and short formal hold on the land would seem to call for.
J. C. Furnas, The Americans: A social history of the United States 1587-1914 p 75
Christianity began as a separatist movement within Judaism,
becoming a relatively self-sufficient society within the Roman Empire.
From the third to eleventh centuries, groups within Christianity began to protest against the growing power of the clergy and the substitution of doctrine for inspiration.
Christianity's power structure held, until about 1173, when as Europe was emerging from the Dark Ages, one of these groups, erroneously dubbed Waldenses, rose to prominence.
The Waldenses sought individual perfection apart from the mainstream Christianity, rejected the official clergy and hoped to reintroduce original primitive Christian fellowship and apostolic simplicity. The Waldenses came to be seen as a threat to the prevailing order because of their revolutionary beliefs.
Their ideology became part of the Dutch Reformed Church around 1629.
Excommunicated in 1184,
the Waldenses suffered
centuries of persecution
To William I,
the Dutch Reformed Church owes it freedom and its very existence, since 1558.
launched the seeds
of the American Dream
to Staten Island in 1655.