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The English Republican tradition and eighteenth-century FranceBetween the Ancients and the Moderns$
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Rachel Hammersley

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719079320

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719079320.001.0001

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From English republicans to British commonwealthmen

From English republicans to British commonwealthmen

(p.14) 1 From English republicans to British commonwealthmen
The English Republican tradition and eighteenth-century France

Rachel Hammersley

Manchester University Press

In order to understand the commonwealth position, this chapter puts on one side the issue of constitutional forms and focuses instead on the principles, values and practical measures that the commonwealthmen saw as uniting them with the republicans of the mid-seventeenth century. It is clear that the commonwealthmen were much more closely in line with the seventeenth-century republican tradition than their rejection of kingless government would initially suggest. In their emphasis on the concept of liberty and their concern with both civil and religious freedoms, they were following directly in the earlier tradition. The real achievement of the commonwealthmen was to bring the works and ideas of the mid-seventeenth-century republicans to the attention of a new generation and to render their ideas applicable in the very different circumstances of eighteenth-century Britain.

Keywords:   commonwealthmen, republicans, Britain, liberty, religious freedom, kingless government

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