Tyranny and reason of state
in Order and conflict
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Anthony Ascham was favourable to monarchy, although kings as individuals might not be worthy of the throne. To distance himself from the Machiavellian implications of reason of state, especially those concerning the justification of internal conflict and political change that appealed to his republican allies, Ascham pointed to Hugo Grotius's insistence on the traditional concept of 'equity. Ascham's support of parliamentary 'usurpation' has to be understood in the broader context of the parliamentary uses of the concept of tyranny during the Civil Wars. Charges of tyranny were thrown at Charles I's personal rule in the 1640s, and paved the way for his trial and execution in 1649. Ascham's defence of Parliament's 'usurpation', was also a consequence of his having shifted the focus of attention from the origins to the ends of government, in order to ask for obedience.

Order and conflict

Anthony Ascham and English political thought, 1648–50


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