Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought, 1570-1640

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Cambridge University Press, Dec 16, 2004 - History - 356 pages
Markku Peltonen examines humanist and republican themes in English political thinking between the mid-sixteenth century and the Civil War. He challenges the dominant view that humanism fizzled out in the middle of the sixteenth century only to re-emerge during the 1650s in the writings of such classical republicans as James Harrington and John Milton. The English continued to use central notions of the humanist tradition such as the virtuous civic life and vera nobilitas to portray themselves as citizens, characterizing their life as one of participation rather than subjection. They often resorted to openly republican themes - notably that governors be elected rather than hereditary - and the classical idea of the mixed constitution was profoundly influential. Dr Peltonen casts an important new perspective on these humanist and republican themes, and locates their uses in specific historical circumstances.

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