Sir Robert Filmer and English Political Thought

By James Daly

© 1979

Sir Robert Filmer (1588-1653) was a defender of 'the Natural Power of Kings against the Unnatural Liberty of the People.' His doctrine of omnicompetent sovereignty had little influence on the thought and political debates of his time, for none of his writings was published until the last few years of his life; but it came under scrutiny later in the century, particularly during the exclusion crisis and in the political writings of John Locke. This book is the first comprehensive analysis of his thought, its context, and its place in English political thought as a whole.

Daly examines Filmer's publishing career, his relation to contemporary writers and critics, and the chief sources on which he drew. The book thus provides the background for a study of Filmer's theory of sovereignty, its voluntarist concept of law, its rejection of prescription, fundamental law, and non-monarchical forms of government, and its insistence that monarchy be not only absolute, but arbitrary as well. Analysing Filmer's interpretation of Adam's (and all kings') 'fatherly power,' here described as 'legal patriarchalism,' Daly shows it to be very different from most contemporary thought. In comparing Filmer's thought with that of other royalists and the positions taken by his critics, notably Edward Gee, James Tyrrell, Algernon Sidney, and of course Locke, he shows it to be strikingly original, almost revolutionary, and frequently distorted by those who dealt with it.  

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 228 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 8.0in
Product Formats

SaveUP TO 9239

Book Formats

SKU# SP004646

  • PUBLISHED DEC 1979

    From: $22.46

    Regular Price: $29.95

    ISBN 9781442639690
  • PUBLISHED DEC 1979

    From: $22.46

    Regular Price: $29.95

Quick Overview

This book is the first comprehensive analysis of Sir Robert Filmer's thought, its context, and its place in English political thought as a whole.

Sir Robert Filmer and English Political Thought

By James Daly

© 1979

Sir Robert Filmer (1588-1653) was a defender of 'the Natural Power of Kings against the Unnatural Liberty of the People.' His doctrine of omnicompetent sovereignty had little influence on the thought and political debates of his time, for none of his writings was published until the last few years of his life; but it came under scrutiny later in the century, particularly during the exclusion crisis and in the political writings of John Locke. This book is the first comprehensive analysis of his thought, its context, and its place in English political thought as a whole.

Daly examines Filmer's publishing career, his relation to contemporary writers and critics, and the chief sources on which he drew. The book thus provides the background for a study of Filmer's theory of sovereignty, its voluntarist concept of law, its rejection of prescription, fundamental law, and non-monarchical forms of government, and its insistence that monarchy be not only absolute, but arbitrary as well. Analysing Filmer's interpretation of Adam's (and all kings') 'fatherly power,' here described as 'legal patriarchalism,' Daly shows it to be very different from most contemporary thought. In comparing Filmer's thought with that of other royalists and the positions taken by his critics, notably Edward Gee, James Tyrrell, Algernon Sidney, and of course Locke, he shows it to be strikingly original, almost revolutionary, and frequently distorted by those who dealt with it.  

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 228 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 8.0in
  • Author Information

    James Daly was a member of the Department of History at McMaster University.