The Emergence of Political Issues, 1664-1673
After the exciting events of 1664 the people of New York slowly adapted to the new government. In turn, the members of the government reacted to the initiatives of the people. This interaction was contained within the narrow framework of the new structure of government. The people had to discover these parameters, just as the government had to recognize the limits of its authority. This process is revealed in three major problems that emerged during the first period of English administration from 1664 to 1673. First, there was the continuing struggle of the New English towns on Long Island to preserve local autonomy and extend representative government. Second, competition developed between the various regions to exploit their own economic potential. This struggle was complicated by the desire of the government to collect duties to defray the costs of the proprietary. Third, the tension between the Dutch and the English became a major problem as the Dutch were forced to begin the long process of Anglicization. During this period, the pressures on the Dutch varied considerably. They also could retain the hope of returning to Dutch rule, a hope that was realized in 1673 when a Dutch fleet sailed into New York harbor. These three problems were not discrete. Economic rivalries enhanced ethnic tension, and vice versa. Struggles for local autonomy were sharpened by economic rivalries. An understanding of the growth of these three issues and the conflicts they engendered illuminates the working of the new government.