Historians have neglected a seventeenth-century hero whose actions and words laid the groundwork for America's democratic diversity and religious toleration—at least that is the theme of a best-selling history of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, the predecessor of New York. This courageous but forgotten lawyer, Adriaen van der Donck, went out from Holland in 1641 as a young man to serve as “schout” (chief judicial officer, both sheriff and prosecutor) of Rensselaerwyck, then moved to New Amsterdam where he eventually became the spokesman of colonists irked by the arbitrary highhandedness of the Director General, Petrus Stuyvesant. Van der Donck is now proclaimed to have ensured that Dutch religious toleration became the basic assumption and pattern that evolved into modern American religious pluralism. The great popularity of this recent revelation ensures that thousands of people, from general readers to professional historians whose specialty lies elsewhere, now believe that religious toleration in America originated in New Amsterdam/ New York, where Dutch customs of toleration contrasted with the theocratic tendencies of English colonies. Is this claim true? In my opinion—no. Should historians pay attention to journalistic jingoism? Perhaps—because unexamined assumptions affect topics treated more seriously. What, then, can be said about the fabled Dutch tradition of toleration and its contribution to the discussion of religious freedom in America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries?