Consent and the origins of government
in The Levellers
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This chapter examines Leveller accounts of the origins of government, which followed one branch of parliamentarian thought in seeing government as founded in the original power of the people. Leveller theorists emphasized the continuity of this original power in ways displaced the emphasis from any transition out of a state of nature into governed society through a social contract, and emphasized instead the regular deployment of the people’s power in elections. These views lay behind the Levellers’ constitutional theory which gave an elected representative, rather than king or lords, institutional supremacy.

The Levellers

Radical political thought in the English Revolution


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