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The Greek Tradition in Republic Thought completely rewrites the standard history of republican political theory. It excavates an identifiably Greek strain of republican thought which attaches little importance to freedom as non-dependence and sees no intrinsic value in political participation. This tradition's central preoccupations are not honour and glory, but happiness (eudaimonia) and justice - defined, in Plato's terms, as the rule of the best men. This set of commitments yields as startling readiness to advocate the corrective redistribution of wealth, and even the outright abolition of private property. The Greek tradition was revived in England during the early sixteenth century and was broadly influential throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Its exponents included Sir Thomas More, James Harrington, Montesquieu and Thomas Jefferson, and it contributed significantly to the ideological underpinnings of the American Founding as well as the English Civil Wars.
Cambridge University Press
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