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Dutch Translation of the U.S. Constitution from 1788 – Pic of the Week

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The Law Library of Congress houses approximately 60,000 rare items, 25,000 of which are housed in our climate controlled vault. The Law Library’s rare books collection is managed by our Rare Books Curator,  Nathan Dorn. For an item to be considered rare, it typically must have been published prior to 1801. 

This 1788 translation of the U.S. Constitution into Dutch is one such rare item housed in the vault. This translation was intended to promote support for ratification among the Dutch speaking residents of New York. The translator was Rev. Lambertus de Ronde, “the author of the first book in the English language published by a member of the Reformed Dutch Church in America.”[1]  de Ronde’s translation was said to have had “tremendous influence among older men of the state…securing New York for the Union and Constitution.”[2]


[1] William Elliot Griffis, (1909). The Story of New Netherland, the Dutch in America. Boston:   Houghton Mifflin Co.  

[2] Ibid.

Dutch Translation of the U.S. Constitution from 1788
Dutch Translation of the U.S. Constitution from 1788

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