The Council of eight men was an early representational democracy in New Netherland. It replaced the previous council of twelve men.



In 1643 Abraham Pietersen Van Deusen who had served on the council of twelve men was appointed to a new council of eight men. The council contacted the States-General and blamed governor Willem Kieft for the declining economic condition of the nascent colony, and the war with the Native Americans. They requested that a new Director-General of New Netherland be appointed and that the people themselves be given more influence in the new government. Director General Kieft was dismissed, and Peter Stuyvesant took his place and Stuyvesant remained in power until the colony was turned over to the British in 1664. Kieft returned to Holland, but the vessel was lost at sea and his body was never recovered. John Franklin Jameson (1859–1937) writes:

The commonalty were called together; they were sore distressed. They chose eight, in the stead of the previous twelve, persons to aid in consulting for the best; but the occupation every one had to take care of his own, prevented anything beneficial being adopted at that time. nevertheless it was resolved that as many Englishmen as were to be got in the country should be enlisted, who were indeed now proposing to depart; the third part of these were to be paid by the commonalty; this promise was made by the commonalty but was not followed by the pay.

Council Members


The council members were:[1]

See also



  1. ^ New York State; O'Callaghan, EB; Broadhead, John Romeyn: Documents relative to the colonial history of the state of New York, p. 191, 1856
  2. ^ Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Configuration at line 2058: attempt to index a boolean value.

Further reading

  • Benson John Lossing; The Empire State: A Compendious History of the Commonwealth of New York