Catalogue


Commonwealth principles [electronic resource] : republican writing of the English revolution /
Jonathan Scott.
imprint
Cambridge, U.K. ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2004.
description
xii, 402 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0521843758
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, U.K. ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2004.
isbn
0521843758
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8114541
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-11-01:
In his latest contribution to early modern scholarship, Scott (Univ. of Pittsburgh) analyzes the writings of republican political theorists during the English Civil War. He rightly argues that understanding the period requires a close examination of the subtle varieties of opinions espoused by 17th-century republicans, especially, though not exclusively, James Harrington, John Milton, Marchamont Nedham, Henry Neville, and, of course, Algernon Sidney. Scott begins with an overview of the historiography and then dissects the ancient and early modern intellectual contexts for these commonwealth principles, analyzes each principle as seen through the lens of each author, and addresses the chronology of the development of the theories as the political situation changed throughout the century. Perhaps more attention to medieval antecedents and the royalist position would set the republicans' views in sharper relief, but this is a minor quibble with an expertly researched and argued monograph. This erudite treatment of the subject is sure to become a standard. Although this work is aimed at specialists, anyone with knowledge of the revolution will find it accessible. ^BSumming Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. M. Pope Hiram College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Jonathan Scott has established himself as a leading scholar of English classical republicanism - a learned interpreter of the sources and discourses of its early modern exponents and a perceptive critic of the output of its modern historians...The book under review here resoundingly articulates its author's sense of the priority of principles...Empowered by opportunities raised by war and interregnum, the English republicans of the mid-seventeenth century were dedicated more to the moral project of the 'reformation of manners' than to the formal one of the construction of constitutions...The pursuit of principle in preference to form drives a rethinking of the place of James Harrington - a rethinking that Scott has undertaken, in respectful dissent from the views of J.G.A. Pocock, over a number of years... Commonwealth Principles... deserves to command the attention of a wide readership of early modern historians, and will assuredly stimulate further research." Journal of Ecclesiastical History
"Scott...has made his eloquently written book (it was hard to put down) required reading for students of early-modern republicanism...In his presentation and scrutiny of the varieties of republican ideology, the quality of Scott's work is on par with that produced by J.G.A. Pocock and Quentin Skinner...a...book that sheds new light on an area of English history and a political ideology that scholars assumed they already knew very well." Canadian Journal of History
"Scott'¦has made his eloquently written book (it was hard to put down) required reading for students of early-modern republicanism'¦In his presentation and scrutiny of the varieties of republican ideology, the quality of Scott's work is on par with that produced by J.G.A. Pocock and Quentin Skinner'¦a'¦book that sheds new light on an area of English history and a political ideology that scholars assumed they already knew very well." Canadian Journal of History
"A particular virtue of this book is its full development of...[Scott's] revisionist reading of James Harrington...such that ...[its] larger significance beyond the re interpretation of that one writer is now visible...In doing so, he demonstrates the continuing vitality of scholarship on English republicanism, bringing new definition to a notoriously elastic term while also painstakingly tracing its development over time and the significant philosophical differences between its main protagonists...His focus on republicanism as a moral cause, rather than on particular constitutional forms, also grants him scope to make a major contribution to the current rehabilitation of the infamous turncoat Marchamont Nedham, in a patient and sympathetic analysis which is one of the most rewarding elements of the book...Scott is now firmly established as one of the most prominent scholars of seventeenth century republicanism, and this latest synthesis of his views will be impossible for scholars of this literature to ignore." H-Albion, H-Net Reviews
"Scott fills a glaring gap in the scholarly marketplace, by producing a wide-ranging exploration of republican writing in the long seventeenth century, which engages with and challenges leading authorities in the field...this is unquestionably an impressive work. Scott offers a thorough discussion...and an extremely subtle reading, on big and small issues alike. His achievement is all the greater for having reintegrated intellectual thought within a variety of historical contexts, and for having progressed beyond canonical texts...an immense achievement that will enlighten scholars and students from any number of disciplinary backgrounds." Journal of British Studies
"A particular virtue of this book is its full development of'¦[Scott's] revisionist reading of James Harrington'¦such that '¦[its] larger significance beyond the re interpretation of that one writer is now visible'¦In doing so, he demonstrates the continuing vitality of scholarship on English republicanism, bringing new definition to a notoriously elastic term while also painstakingly tracing its development over time and the significant philosophical differences between its main protagonists'¦His focus on republicanism as a moral cause, rather than on particular constitutional forms, also grants him scope to make a major contribution to the current rehabilitation of the infamous turncoat Marchamont Nedham, in a patient and sympathetic analysis which is one of the most rewarding elements of the book'¦Scott is now firmly established as one of the most prominent scholars of seventeenth century republicanism, and this latest synthesis of his views will be impossible for scholars of this literature to ignore." H-Albion, H-Net Reviews
"Its chronological account of the unfolding of English republicanism across'¦the seventeenth century can be recommended as the best narrative now available. Its skeptical treatments of republican constitutionalism, conceptions of history and attitudes towards empire will inject informed controversy into much-debated fields. Its chapters on republicanism and 'the cause of God' and on its relation to resistance theory will now bring studies of English republicanism into much more productive dialogue with recent work on early-modern Dutch and German republicanism. Moreover, the depth of Scott's primary research, his respectful treatment of previous scholarship and the unpretentious clarity of his prose will make the book a model for future studies of seventeenth-century political thought." History of Political Thought
'Commonwealth Principles demonstrates the range, vigour and intrigue of intellectual English Republicanism.'Times Literary Supplement
'Commonwealth Principles presents a coherent and confident overview.' Times Literary Supplement
'... deserves to command the attention of a wide readership of early modern historians, and will asuredly stimulate further research into the ideological composition of seventeenth-century republicanism.'Journal of Ecclesiastical History
"In addition to...Ýa¨ synchronic analysis of English republican writing, Scott provides a powerful diachronic analysis of it, an account of how the thinking of those who opposed the Stuarts developed over time and in response to rapidly changing political, military, economic, and cultural circumstances in England, the United Provinces, and the western hemisphere. This is fine interdisciplinary scholarly work which makes a major contribution to our understanding of the history of republican political thought at large." European Legacy
"This erudite treatment of the subject is sure to become a standard. Essential." Choice
"Jonathan Scott has established himself as a leading scholar of English classical republicanism – a learned interpreter of the sources and discourses of its early modern exponents and a perceptive critic of the output of its modern historians'¦The book under review here resoundingly articulates its author's sense of the priority of principles'¦Empowered by opportunities raised by war and interregnum, the English republicans of the mid-seventeenth century were dedicated more to the moral project of the 'reformation of manners' than to the formal one of the construction of constitutions'¦The pursuit of principle in preference to form drives a rethinking of the place of James Harrington – a rethinking that Scott has undertaken, in respectful dissent from the views of J.G.A. Pocock, over a number of years'¦ Commonwealth Principles'¦ deserves to command the attention of a wide readership of early modern historians, and will assuredly stimulate further research." Journal of Ecclesiastical History
"Its chronological account of the unfolding of English republicanism across...the seventeenth century can be recommended as the best narrative now available. Its skeptical treatments of republican constitutionalism, conceptions of history and attitudes towards empire will inject informed controversy into much-debated fields. Its chapters on republicanism and 'the cause of God' and on its relation to resistance theory will now bring studies of English republicanism into much more productive dialogue with recent work on early-modern Dutch and German republicanism. Moreover, the depth of Scott's primary research, his respectful treatment of previous scholarship and the unpretentious clarity of his prose will make the book a model for future studies of seventeenth-century political thought." History of Political Thought
England's Troubles (Scott's previous book) was described by the TLS as 'brimming with originality and stuffed with insights that make it the most stimulating book on seventeenth-century history to have appeared in years, if not in decades'.
England’s Troubles (Scott’s previous book) was described by the TLS as 'brimming with originality and stuffed with insights that make it the most stimulating book on seventeenth-century history to have appeared in years, if not in decades’.
"England's Troubles (Scott's previous book) was described by the TLS as 'brimming with originality and stuffed with insights that make it the most stimulating book on seventeenth-century history to have appeared in years, if not in decades'... Commonwealth Principles demonstrates the range, vigour and intrigue of intellectual English Republicanism... Commonwealth Principles presents a coherent and confident overview." Times Literary Supplement
"Few seventeenth century historians possess the mastery of these materials the way that Jonathan Scott does. His ability to combine a deep appreciation of the demands of doing political theory and political history is surely unrivaled...Commonwealth Principles is a remarkable achievement of an historian at the height of his powers." Mark Kishlansky, Harvard University
"In addition to...[a] synchronic analysis of English republican writing, Scott provides a powerful diachronic analysis of it, an account of how the thinking of those who opposed the Stuarts developed over time and in response to rapidly changing political, military, economic, and cultural circumstances in England, the United Provinces, and the western hemisphere. This is fine interdisciplinary scholarly work which makes a major contribution to our understanding of the history of republican political thought at large." European Legacy
"In addition to'¦[a] synchronic analysis of English republican writing, Scott provides a powerful diachronic analysis of it, an account of how the thinking of those who opposed the Stuarts developed over time and in response to rapidly changing political, military, economic, and cultural circumstances in England, the United Provinces, and the western hemisphere. This is fine interdisciplinary scholarly work which makes a major contribution to our understanding of the history of republican political thought at large." European Legacy
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2005
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Summaries
Description for Bookstore
The English revolution produced a vibrant print culture. Poets (famously John Milton), journalists, political leaders, theorists and Whig martyrs were among those contributing to the cultural ferment in support of republican ideas, newly analysed in Commonwealth Principles by Jonathan Scott, one of the foremost historians of the period writing today.
Long Description
Examining works which supported the abolition of monarchy and its replacement with a republic, Jonathan Scott ventures beyond existing studies of individual authors or specific themes to offer the first general account of an influential body of writing. Poets such as John Milton as well as journalists, political leaders, theorists and whig martyrs were among those contributing to the cultural ferment. The result is a major contribution to our understanding of seventeenth-century England, from one of its foremost historians.
Main Description
The republican writing of the English revolution has attracted a major scholarly literature. Yet there has been no single treatment of the subject as a whole, nor has it been adequately related to the larger upheaval from which it emerged, or to the larger body of radical thought of which it became the most influential component. Commonwealth Principles addresses these needs, and Jonathan Scott goes beyond existing accounts organized around a single key concept (whether constitutional, linguistic or moral) or author (usually James Harrington) to analyse this body of writing in full context. Linking various social, political and intellectual agendas Professor Scott explains why, when classical republicanism came to England, it did so in the moral service of an explicitly religious revolution. The resulting ideology hinged not upon political language, or constitutional form, but Christian humanist moral philosophy applied in the practical context of an attempted radical reformation of manners.
Description for Bookstore
The English revolution produced a vibrant print culture. Commonwealth Principles examines those works which supported the abolition of monarchy and its replacement with a republic. Poets (most famously John Milton), journalists, political leaders, theorists and whig martys were among those contributing to the cultural ferment. Jonathan Scott goes beyond existing studies of individual authors or specific themes to offer the first general account of this influential body of writing as a whole. The result is a major contribution to our understanding of seventeenth-century England, from one of its foremost historians.
Description for Bookstore
The English revolution produced a vibrant print culture. Poets (famously John Milton), journalists, political leaders, theorists and Whig martyrs were among those contributing to the cultural ferment in support of republican ideas, analysed in Commonwealth Principles by Jonathan Scott, one of the foremost historians of the period writing today.
Table of Contents
Preface
Introduction: English republicanism
Contexts
Classical republicanism
The cause of God
Discourses of a commonwealth
Old worlds and new
Analysis
The political theory of rebellion
Constitutions
Liberty
Virtue
The politics of time
Empire
Chronology
Republicans and Levellers, 1603-1649
The English republic, 1649-1653
Healing and settling, 1653-1658
The good old cause, 1658-1660
Anatomies of tyranny, 1660-1683
Republicans and Whigs, 1680-1725
Appendix: 'a pretty story of horses' (May 1654)
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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