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Other titles in the Liberty Fund Studies in Political Theory series:

Discourses Concerning Government

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

I have lately undertaken to read Algernon Sidney on government. . . . As often as I have read it, and fumbled it over, it now excites fresh admiration that this work has excited so little interest in the literary world. As splendid an edition of it as the art of printing can produce—as well for the intrinsic merit of the work, as for the proof it brings of the bitter sufferings of the advocates of liberty from that time to this, and to show the slow progress of moral, philosophical, and political illumination in the world—ought to be now printed in America.

—John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (1823)

Written in response to Sir Robert Filmer's Patriarcha (1680), the Discourses Concerning Government by Algernon Sidney (1623-1683) has been treasured for more than three centuries as a classic defense of republicanism and popular government.

Sidney rejected Filmer's theories of royal absolutism and divine right of kings, insisting that title to rule should be based on merit rather than birth; and republics, he thought, were more likely to honor merit than were monarchies. Like John Milton, Sidney revered and idealized the Commonwealth (1649-1660) as England's noble achievement in the grand tradition of ancient Greece and Rome.

Sidney's treatise was published posthumously in 1698, fifteen years after he was executed for complicity in a plot to assassinate Charles II. Sidney's papers, including a draft of the Discourses, were used as evidence against him. Although there is nothing in the work incompatible with constitutional monarchy, the indictment claimed that it was a "false, seditious, and traitorous libel," citing sentences which stated that the king is subject to law and is responsible to the people.

Sidney's Discourses was widely read in the colonies and influenced a number of American revolutionary leaders.

Thomas G. West is Professor of Politics at the University of Dallas.

Synopsis:

Written in response to Sir Robert Filmer's Patriarcha (1680), the Discourses Concerning Government by Algernon Sidney (1623-1683) has been treasured for more than three centuries as a classic defense of republicanism and popular government.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780865971417
Author:
Sidney, Algernon
Publisher:
Liberty Fund
Editor:
West, Thomas G.
Subject:
General Law
Subject:
History & Theory - General
Subject:
Politics - General
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Liberty Fund Studies in Political Theory
Publication Date:
19900731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
645
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in
Age Level:
from 18 to 100

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Libertarian

Discourses Concerning Government New Hardcover
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Product details 645 pages Liberty Fund, Incorporated - English 9780865971417 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Written in response to Sir Robert Filmer's Patriarcha (1680), the Discourses Concerning Government by Algernon Sidney (1623-1683) has been treasured for more than three centuries as a classic defense of republicanism and popular government.
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