The seventeenth century was England’s century of revolution, an era in which the nation witnessed protracted civil wars, the execution of a king, and the declaration of a short-lived republic. During this period of revolutionary crisis, political writers of all persuasions hoped to shape the outcome of events by the force of their arguments. To read the major political theorists of Stuart England is to be plunged into a world in which many of our modern conceptions of political rights and social change are first formulated. David Wootton's masterly compilation of speeches, essays, and fiercely polemical pamphlets--organized into chapters focusing on the main debates of the century--represents the first attempt to present in one volume a broad collection of Stuart political thought. In bringing together abstract theorizing and impassioned calls to arms, anonymous tract writers and King James I, Wootton has produced a much-needed collection; in combination with the editor’s thoughtful running commentary and invaluable Introduction, its texts bring to life a crucial period in the formation of our modern liberal and conservative theories.
This well-known book reasserts the central importance of political and religious ideology in the origins of the English Civil War. Recent historiography has concentrated on its social and economic causes: Sommerville reminds us what the people of the time thought they were fighting about. Examining the main political theories in c.17th England - the Divine Right of Kings, government by consent, and the ancient constitution - he considers their impact on actual events. He draws on major political thinkers like Hobbes and Locke, but also on lesser but more representative figures, to explore what was new in these ideas and what was merely the common currency of the age. This major new edition incorporates all the latest thinking on the subject.
"A survey of Western political thought from the Greeks to the threshold of the present, this book fulfills its aims successfully and admirably. It is clearly written and thematically unified in spite of its huge terrain. One thing it does very well is link political theories to the historical, political, and religious circumstances in which they are embedded, providing the lay reader, serious student of political philosophy, and political philosopher with a road-map and orientation in the history of political thought. A significant contribution."ùDavid Carr, Emory University The Conflict Between Politics And Antipolitics has replayed throughout Western history and philosophical thought. From the beginning, Plato's quest for absolute certainty led him to denounce democracy, an anti-political position challenged by Aristotle. In his wide-ranging narrative, Dick Howard puts this dilemma into fresh perspective, proving our contemporary political problems are not as unique as we think. Howard begins with democracy in ancient Greece and the rise and fall of republican politics in Rome. In the wake of Rome's collapse, political thought searched for a new medium, and the conflict between politics and antipolitics reemerged through the contrasting theories of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas. During the Renaissance and Reformation, the emergence of the modern individual again transformed the terrain of the political. Even so, politics vs. antipolitics dominated the period, frustrating even Machiavelli, who sought to reconceptualize the nature of political thought. Hobbes and Locke, theorists of the social contract, then reenacted the conflict, which Rousseau sought (in vain) to overcome. Adam Smith and the growth of modern economic liberalism, the radicalism of the French Revolution, and the conservative reaction of Edmund Burke subsequently marked the triumph of antipolitics, while the American Revolution momentarily offered the potential for a renewal of politics. Taken together, these historical examples, viewed through the prism of philosophy, reveal the roots of today's political climate and the trajectory of battles yet to come. "The analytical distinction of plurality, diversity, and unity is a good way to think about the common themes of these political thinkers in different social and historical contexts. Explaining several texts across different periods is a daunting task, and Dick Howard should be commended for the work he has done."ùR. Claire Snyder-Hall, George Mason University
Government decisions shape our lives, but how much do we know about the foundations of modern political thought? Theorists in the Renaissance constructed the ideological world we inhabit. They claimed to have mastered natural secrets whilst also promising perpetual, flawless, and scientifically demonstrable rule. Selective applications of artistic themes, religious symbols, imperialistic concepts and spells cast by ‘intellectual magic,’ helped advance sovereign rule. By mid-17th century, these speculations were spinning an elaborate web of control. If we wish to understand myths of our current age, the intellectual mystique enshrouding origins of the modern State must first be revealed.
In the eighteenth century, audiences in Great Britain understood the term ‘slavery’ to refer to a range of physical and metaphysical conditions beyond the transatlantic slave trade. Literary representations of slavery encompassed tales of Barbary captivity, the ‘exotic’ slaving practices of the Ottoman Empire, the political enslavement practiced by government or church, and even the harsh life of servants under a cruel master. Arguing that literary and cultural studies have focused too narrowly on slavery as a term that refers almost exclusively to the race-based chattel enslavement of sub-Saharan Africans transported to the New World, the contributors suggest that these analyses foreclose deeper discussion of other associations of the term. They suggest that the term slavery became a powerful rhetorical device for helping British audiences gain a new perspective on their own position with respect to their government and the global sphere. Far from eliding the real and important differences between slave systems operating in the Atlantic world, this collection is a starting point for understanding how slavery as a concept came to encompass many forms of unfree labor and metaphorical bondage precisely because of the power of association.
Epistolary Community in Print contends that the printed letter is an inherently sociable genre ideally suited to the theorisation of community in early modern England. In manual, prose or poetic form, printed letter collections make private matters public, and in so doing reveal, first how tenuous is the divide between these two realms in the early modern period and, second, how each collection helps to constitute particular communities of readers. Consequently, as Epistolary Community details, epistolary visions of community were gendered. This book provides a genealogy of epistolary discourse beginning with an introductory discussion of Gabriel Harvey and Edmund Spenser’s Wise and Wittie Letters (1580), and opening into chapters on six printed letter collections generated at times of political change. Among the authors whose letters are examined are Angel Day, Michael Drayton, Jacques du Bosque and Margaret Cavendish. Epistolary Community identifies broad patterns that were taking shape, and constantly morphing, in English printed letters from 1580 to 1664, and then considers how the six examples of printed letters selected for discussion manipulate this generic tradition to articulate ideas of community under specific historical and political circumstances. This study makes a substantial contribution to the rapidly growing field of early modern letters, and demonstrates how the field impacts our understanding of political discourses in circulation between 1580 and 1664, early modern women’s writing, print culture and rhetoric.
Monarchical government in the later 17th century was a political fact of life and remains central to understanding the period. The subject of this book is the court of the later Stuart kings in the period 1660-1702. Its purpose is to provide an introduction to some of the emergent themes of court politics, culture and society. It does this in two ways by analyzing the ritual side of court government in its structural, political and cultural guises. The book also explores the processes of power at court through the client-patron system, factional conflict and the role of women at court.