Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) Dutch politician

Protestant theologist Abraham Kuyper is one the most important Dutch pre-war politicians. He was also journalist, publicist, emancipator, orator and visionary. He started his working career as protestant preacher in the southern Dutch town of Beesd. His modernist ideas led to a conversion to calvinism. He preached in Amsterdam from 1870 to 1874 and led the newspaper De Standaard in 1872.

In 1874, Kuyper entered the Dutch Lower Chamber (Tweede Kamer). He would take that seat for fourteen years: 1874-1877, 1894-1901 and 1908-1912. More importantly, he was the first Dutch politician to raise a modern political party, the Antirevolutionaire Partij ('anti-revolutionary party'), also known under its abbreviation ARP in the century to come. It was a party based on calvinist thoughts, for which Kuyper also would write Ons Program (Our Program) in 1879, describing their aims and ideas.

Kuyper was also the driving force behind the birth of the calvinist Vrije Universiteit (Free University) in 1880. As first dean, he opened it with an oration called Souvereiniteit (Souvereignty).

After an electorial victory in 1901, Kuyper and his ARP entered the government. As Minister of the Interior, Kuyper acted quickly and forcefully at the railway strike of 1903. Kuyper also managed to emancipate the kleine luyden, literally the 'little people', but in fact the common people who faithfully went to the protestant church every weekend.

Kuyper ended his political career after a defeat at the elections of 1905. He started a long journey through the Mediterranean region, described in his book Om de oude wereldzee (Around the old world sea). It was one of his many publications - books as well as press articles.

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