Van Groesen uses early seventeenth-century Amsterdam, then one of the largest European commercial and political centers, to demonstrate the rise of participation in news consumption and politics among previously marginalized sectors of the population: “I take the Dutch Atlantic out of the customs houses and into the coffee houses” (10). He demonstrates the coeval rise of a print culture, especially news sheets. Officialdom made an attempt at censorship, but in this case, the increase in literacy and the increase in printed materials were linked.

The story begins with the increased interest in the Atlantic world that corresponded with the founding of the Dutch West Indies Company, which was hoped to rival the powerful Dutch East Indies Company. During the years between 1578 and 1622, the population of the city more than tripled. When a peace treaty with Spain expired, the Dutch regarded Brazil as a potential colony. After a Dutch...

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