Jacob Leisler has been more an icon in historical writing than a person. That the icon has served very different groups over the centuries only shows that is has had little to do with the real person. In his own century he was both the fanatical and villainous despot and the martyred hero. In later times he was a forerunner of American democracy, and a symbol of colonial rebelliousness. He has also been pilloried in the Catholic press, not without justification, although Catholics were not among those treated most harshly during his administration. To Marxist theoreticians he was a voice for the proletariat; to National Socialist propagandists he was a German martyr. In short, much that has been written about Leisler has had to do with the interests of various groups and causes, many of them unrelated, or only distantly related, to anything happening in Leisler's time. It is only today that articles and books are beginning to appear in which his career is examined dispassionately. Many of the untruths are so ingrained that one must almost begin by saying what is not true before going on to discuss what is true about Leisler. Suffice it to say that, despite a long tradition of popular writing that he was base-born, resentful of being outside the mainstream of colonial life and commerce, and failing in his enterprises, he none of these. For much of our enlightenment we are indebted to the research by David William Voorhees, who has assembled copies of several thousand documents from private institutions and government archives from throughout Europe and North America.