In the 1850s and 1860s, Dutch immigrants in America struggled to square their racial views with the politics of slavery in their new country. The historiography of the Dutch world would benefit from incorporating this story, because it is often in moments of conflict when the most explicit expressions of ideology present themselves. The letters of Charles Liernur, a Dutch-born Confederate, provide a unique insight into the mind of an explicit supporter of slavery in an American context. How and why a Dutchman could defend slavery is the primary question this article addresses. Building on Liernur’s story, this article also challenges the standard view that Dutch Americans were natural opponents of slavery. Instead, they held diverse and ambiguous views, shaped in part by the circumstances of their settlement.