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Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Fénelon, Jacobitism and the political works of the Chevalier Ramsay

Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686-1743) was a Scottish Jacobite émigré who spent most of his adult life in France. His political works predominantly relied on a mixture of British and French doctrines to stimulate a Jacobite restoration to the British throne. Ambitious and controversial, Ramsay believed that key reforms and a growing empire would make Britain the ‘capital of the universe.’ His position as an intellectual conduit between the two kingdoms enables an extensive assessment of the political thought in Britain and France. Examining a number of important thinkers from the 1660s to the 1730s, this work stresses the significance of seventeenth century ideology on the following century. Crucially, the monograph explores the exchange of ideas between the two countries in the early Enlightenment. A time when Britain had rejected the absolutist pretensions of James II in the Glorious Revolution (1688) to protect mixed sovereignty and a key role for Parliament. This enshrinement of liberty and mixed government struck a chord in France with theorists opposed to Louis XIV’s form of centralised sovereignty. Following Louis XIV’s death in 1715, greater support for monarchical reform became evident in French political theory. Aided by the viewpoints and methodology of intellectual conduits such as Ramsay, shared perspectives emerged in the two countries on the future of monarchy.

Patriarchalism in seventeenth-century political thought

A much-needed monograph of one of the most unpopular and criticised thinkers in the history of political thought, Cuttica’s study provides an illuminating and innovative picture of Sir Robert Filmer (1588-1653) and patriarchalism. Appealing to a broad audience in the humanities, this thoroughly researched work will make an essential reading for all those interested in early modern politics and ideas.

This book explores Filmer’s patriarchalist theories in connection with seventeenth-century English and European political cultures. The nine chapters address a series of important questions regarding his oeuvre that have been hitherto ignored or, at best, left unanswered. Making use of unexplored primary material and adopting an innovative contextual reading of both Patriarcha’s composition (1620s-30s) and its publication (1680), this monograph has three main strengths. Firstly, it brings new light to Patriarcha’s ideas by unveiling ignored aspects of the context in which Filmer wrote; of its language, aims and targets; of its cultural and political meanings. Secondly, the book offers a novel reading of the patriarchalist discourse and its place in early modern political culture in England and Europe. In particular, Patriarcha serves as a prism through which to see the enduring importance of the languages of patriarchalism and patriotism during the Stuart era in England. Thirdly, it gives a timely and unique explanation of why Filmer’s doctrines were amply adopted as well as strongly contested in the 1680s.

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John Toland and the crisis of Christian culture, 1696–1722

This book explores the life, thought and political commitments of the free-thinker John Toland (1670–1722). Studying both his private archive and published works, it illustrates how he moved in both subversive and elite political circles in England and abroad. The book explores the connections between Toland's republican political thought and his irreligious belief about Christian doctrine, the ecclesiastical establishment and divine revelation, arguing that far from being a marginal and insignificant figure, he counted queens, princes and government ministers as his friends and political associates. In particular, Toland's intimate relationship with the Electress Sophia of Hanover saw him act as a court philosopher, but also as a powerful publicist for the Hanoverian succession. The book argues that he shaped the republican tradition after the Glorious Revolution into a practical and politically viable programme, focused not on destroying the monarchy but on reforming public religion and the Church of England. It also examines how Toland used his social intimacy with a wide circle of men and women (ranging from Prince Eugene of Savoy to Robert Harley) to distribute his ideas in private. The book explores the connections between his erudition and print culture, arguing that his intellectual project was aimed at compromising the authority of Christian ‘knowledge’ as much as the political power of the Church. Overall, it illustrates how Toland's ideas and influence impacted upon English political life between the 1690s and the 1720s.

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Anthony Ascham and English political thought, 1648–50

The Puritan Revolution of mid-seventeenth-century England produced an explosion of new and important political thinking. In addition to most famous thinkers, Thomas Hobbes, Sir Robert Filmer and the Levellers, there are other important figures who have been relatively neglected, of whom Anthony Ascham is one. This book is the first full-scale study of Ascham's political thought. Ascham's works were intended to convince lay Presbyterians and royalists to adhere to the policy of national pacification implemented from 1648 by the Independent 'party' within Parliament. From 1648 to 1650 Ascham's propaganda primarily dealt with the issue of the validity of oaths, and insisted on the reciprocal relation between obedience and protection. The first part of Ascham's Discourse focused on 'what things, and how farre a man may lawfully conform to the power and commands of those who hold a kingdome divided by civill warre'. Ascham adopted a twofold line of argument: in the first, he sought to demonstrate that war was consistent with natural law and scripture. Secondly, not all types of war were consistent with the Christian religion and the natural law of self-preservation, only the defensive war. Ascham's natural law theory, which he drew from Hugo Grotius, Thomas Hobbes and John Selden, had therefore both civil and religious implications. Ascham proposed a synthesis between Grotius and Niccolò Machiavelli, underlining the priority of state order over political participation, and justifying war as a means of accessing power only to confirm the necessity of re-establishing order.


John of Salisbury (c. 1120–80) is a key figure of the twelfth-century renaissance. A student at the cosmopolitan schools of medieval Paris, an associate of Thomas Becket and an acute commentator on society and rulership, his works and letters give unique insights into the political culture of this period. This volume reassesses the influence of classical sources on John’s political writings, investigating how he accessed and used the ideas of his ancient predecessors.

By looking at his quotations from and allusions to classical works, O’Daly shows that John not only borrowed the vocabulary of his classical forbears, but explicitly aligned himself with their philosophical positions. She illustrates John’s profound debt to Roman Stoicism, derived from the writings of Seneca and Cicero, and shows how he made Stoic theories on duties, virtuous rulership and moderation relevant to the medieval context. She also examines how John’s classical learning was filtered through patristic sources, arguing that this led to a unique synthesis between his political and theological views.

The book places famous elements of John’s political theory - such as his model of the body-politic, his views on tyranny - in the context of the intellectual foment of the classical revival and the dramatic social changes afoot in Europe in the twelfth century. In so doing, it offers students and researchers of this period a novel investigation of how Stoicism comprises a ‘third way’ for medieval political philosophy, interacting with – and at times dominating – neo-Platonism and proto-Aristotelianism.

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Marco Barducci

, but his ideas have not been given their proper due or been rigorously analysed. Therefore, this is the first full-scale study of Ascham’s political thought. During the crucial period between the Second Civil War and the aftermath of the abolition of monarchy and the establishment of the English Republic, when he served as official pamphleteer of Parliament and the republican government, Ascham did not

in Order and conflict
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Andrew Mansfield

development of popular government provides an insightful view of early Enlightenment political theory, when the seventeenth-century preoccupation with monarchical supremacy was called into question by the British model of mixed government. During the period between 1719 and 1732 Ramsay wrote five works that contained his political thought. These were the Essay de Politique (1719), Essay philosophique sur le gouvernement civil (1721), L’Histoire de la Vie de Fénelon (1723), Les Voyages de Cyrus (1727), and A Plan of Education for a Young Prince (1732). With the exception of

in Ideas of monarchical reform
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Cesare Cuttica

historical phase when Patriarcha was first published (1680). The analysis of language and backdrop has helped to unfold not only the texture of his theories, but also how they were received and employed at the time of the exclusion crisis and afterwards. Furthermore, Patriarcha has been used as a thread leading us into early modern political thought and culture. In particular, it has served as a prism through which to see the lasting importance of the paradigms of patriarchalism and patriotism during the long seventeenth century in england. By way of an informative and

in Sir Robert Filmer (1588-1653) and the patriotic monarch
Ajmal Waqif

stands as the most comprehensive summary of his mature political thought. In this text he went further than many of his peers in the English Jacobin milieu, seeking ‘to destroy not only personal and hereditary lordship, but the cause of them, which is private property in land’. In its place he proposed what he, and subsequent adherents, would call the Plan: ‘land shall no longer be suffered to be the property of individuals, but of the parishes’. Rents would still be charged by the parish as a kind of tax, but the revenue generated was to be ‘deemed the equal property

in The Cato Street Conspiracy