In the centuries when books were expensive and news papers virtually nonexistent, pamphlets and broadsheets played an important role as a means of mass communication. During the peri ods of the Reformation and the Dutch Revolt, religious dogma and political issues were publicly debated in the form of pamphlets. Dirck Coornhert, for instance, published his tracts on religious tol eration, and Prince William (I) of Orange, his apology against the incriminations by King Philip II. In the Dutch Republic, literacy was relatively high; printing, publishing, and the book trade were flourishing branches of enterprise. Many events inspired authors to take sides in the public debate, such as the arrest in 1618 and con demnation of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt or the peace treaty of Munster in 1648. One journalist notorious for his critical and slan derous pamphlets was Jacob Campo Weyerman. During the late 18th century, the political controversies between the Orangists and the Patriots were hotly debated in hundreds of pamphlets. Profes sional journalism and the periodical press gradually took over these functions during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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