Sovereignty and the Sword: Harrington, Hobbes and Mixed Government in the English Civil Wars - Oxford Historical Monographs (Hardback)Arihiro Fukuda
Hardback Published: 16/10/1997
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The English civil wars of the mid-seventeenth century produced two political thinkers of genius: Thomas Hobbes and James Harrington. They are known today as spokesmen of opposite positions, Hobbes of absolutism, Harrington of republicanism. Yet behind their disagreements, argues Arihiro Fukuda, there lay a common perspective. For both writers, the primary aim was the restoration of peace and order to a divided land. Both men saw the conventional thinking of the time as unequal to that task. Their greatest works - Hobbes's Leviathan of 1651, Harrington's Oceana of 1656 - proposed the reconstruction of the English polity on novel bases. It was not over the principle of sovereignty that the two men differed. Fukuda shows Harrington to have been, no less than Hobbes, a theorist of absolute sovereignty. But where Hobbes repudiated the mixed governments of classical antiquity, Harrington's study of them convinced him that mixed government, far from being the enemy of absolute sovereignty, was its essential foundation.
Publisher: Oxford University Press