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Essays on Church, State, and Politics Cover

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Essays on Church, State, and Politics

Christian Thomasius

The essays selected here for translation derive largely from Thomasius’s work on Staatskirchenrecht, or the political jurisprudence of church law. These works, originating as disputations, theses, and pamphlets, were direct interventions in the unresolved issue of the political role of religion in Brandenburg-Prussia, a state in which a Calvinist dynasty ruled over a largely Lutheran population and nobility as well as a significant Catholic minority. In mandating limited religious toleration within the German states, the provisions of the Peace of Westphalia (1648) also provided the rulers of Brandenburg-Prussia with a way of keeping the powerful Lutheran church in check by guaranteeing a degree of religious freedom to non-Lutherans and thereby detaching the state from the most powerful territorial church. Thomasius’s writings on church-state relations, many of them critical of the civil claims made by Lutheran theologians, are a direct response to this state of affairs. At the same time, owing to the depth of intellectual resources at his disposal, these works constitute a major contribution to the broader discussion of the relation between the religious and political spheres.

Christian Thomasius (1655–1728) was a German philosopher and legal theorist. He was a cofounder of the University of Halle, where he was also a professor.

Ian Hunter is Australian Professorial Fellow in the Centre for the History of European Discourses, University of Queensland.

Frank Grunert is a member of the Institute for Philosophy at the University of Giessen.

Thomas Ahnert is a Lecturer in History at the University of Edinburgh.

Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

Essays on Principles of Morality and Natural Religion Cover

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Essays on Principles of Morality and Natural Religion

Henry Home

The Essays is commonly considered Kames’s most important philosophical work. In the first part, he sets forth the principles and foundations of morality and justice, attacking Hume’s moral skepticism and addressing the controversial issue of the freedom of human will. In the second part, Kames focuses on questions of metaphysics and epistemology to offer a natural theology in which the authority of the external senses is an important basis for belief in the Deity.Like Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, and Butler, Kames rejected the idea that morality is founded on self-interest and argued that human beings naturally possess a “moral sense,” or conscience. At the same time, Kames believed our naturally benevolent inclinations could become law-like only through the principle of justice, which “guards the persons, the property, and the reputation of individuals, and gives authority to promises and covenants.”He also sought to counter the epistemological skepticism of Berkeley and Hume, insisting that our sense perceptions must be trustworthy because they have been designed for us by a benevolent Deity. “In its concern to vindicate the veracity of our common moral intuitions and sense perceptions that are rooted in our very nature,” Mary Catherine Moran writes, “the Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion helped found the Scottish Common Sense school,” a philosophy that was given its classic formulation by Kames’s friend Thomas Reid.The text of this volume is based on the third edition of 1779, while the appendix presents substantial variant readings in the first and second editions..

Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696–1782), one of the leaders of the Scottish Enlightenment, was a judge in the supreme courts of Scotland and wrote extensively on morals, religion, education, aesthetics, history, political economy, and law, including natural law. His most distinctive contribution came through his works on the nature of law, where he sought to combine a philosophical approach with an empirical history of legal evolution.

Mary Catherine Moran taught in the Department of History at Columbia University.

Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

The Excellencie of a Free State Cover

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The Excellencie of a Free State

Or, The Right Constitution of a Commonwealth

Marchamont Nedham

First published in 1656, and compiled from previously written editorials in the parliamentarian newsbook Mercurius Politicus, The Excellencie of a Free-State addressed a dilemma in English politics, namely, what kind of government should the Commonwealth adopt? One possibility was to revert to the ancient constitution and create a Cromwellian monarchy. The alternative was the creation of parliamentary sovereignty, in which there would be a "due and orderly succession of supreme authority in the hands of the people's representatives." Nedham was convinced that only the latter would "best secure the liberties and freedoms of the people from the encroachments and usurpations of tyranny."Marchamont Nedham (1620-1678) was a polemicist, pamphleteer, and editor of Mercurius Politicus.Blair Worden is Research Professor of History, Royal Holloway College, University of London.

The Free Sea Cover

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The Free Sea

Hugo Grotius

The freedom of the oceans of the world and coastal waters has been a contentious issue in international law for the past four hundred years. The most influential argument in favor of freedom of navigation, trade, and fishing was that put forth by the Dutch theorist Hugo Grotius in his 1609 Mare Liberum (The Free Sea).The Free Sea was originally published in order to buttress Dutch claims of access to the lucrative markets of the East Indies. It had been composed as the twelfth chapter of a larger work, De Jure Praedae (Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty), which Grotius had written to defend the Dutch East India Company’s capture in 1603 of a rich Portuguese merchant ship in the Strait of Singapore.Liberty Fund’s new edition of The Free Sea is the only translation of Grotius’s masterpiece undertaken in his own lifetime, left in manuscript by the English historian, Richard Hakluyt (1552–1616). It also contains William Welwod’s critique of Grotius (reprinted for the first time since the seventeenth century) and Grotius’s reply to Welwod. These documents provide an indispensable introduction to modern ideas of sovereignty and property as they emerged from the early-modern tradition of natural law.

Hugo Grotius is one of the most important thinkers in the early-modern period. A great humanistic polymath—lawyer and legal theorist, diplomat and political philosopher, ecumenical activist and theologian—his work was seminal for modern natural law and influenced the moral, political, legal, and theological thought of the Enlightenment, from Hobbes, Pufendorf, and Locke to Rousseau and Kant, as well as America’s Founding leaders.David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University. He is the author of The Ideological Origins of the British Empire and The Declaration of Independence: A Global History; the editor of Theories of Empire, 1450–1800; and the co-editor of The British Atlantic World, 1500–1800,Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought, and The Age of Revolutions in Global Context, c. 1760–1840.

Richard Hakluyt (d. 1616) was a geographer, editor, and translator of travel literature. Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

Freedom and the Law Cover

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Freedom and the Law

Bruno Leoni

Those who value individual freedom should reassess the place of the individual within the legal system as a whole. It is no longer a question of defending this or that particular freedom. . . . It is a question of deciding whether individual freedom is compatible in principle with the present system centered on . . . legislation.

—Bruno Leoni, from the introduction

The greatest obstacle to rule of law in our time, contends the author of this thought-provoking work, is the problem of overlegislation. In modern democratic societies, legislative bodies are increasingly usurping functions that were and should be exercised by individuals or groups rather than government. The result is an unwieldy surfeit of laws and regulations that by their sheer volume stifle individual freedom.

Bruno Leoni (1913–1967) was an attorney and Professor of Legal Theory and the Theory of the State at the University of Pavia, Italy.

Arthur Kemp is Professor Emeritus of Economics, at Claremont McKenna College.

Further Reflections on the Revolution in France Cover

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Further Reflections on the Revolution in France

Edmund Burke

In his famous Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), Edmund Burke excoriated French revolutionary leaders for recklessly destroying France's venerable institutions and way of life. But his war against the French intelligentsia did not end there, and Burke continued to take pen in hand against the Jacobins until his death in 1797.

This new collection brings together for the first time Burke's most important essays and letters on the French Revolution. There are seven items in the collection. Taken together, they anticipate, refine, and embellish Burke's Reflections. Included are Burke's "Letter to a Member of the National Assembly," in which he assails Jean Jacques Rousseau, the patron saint of the French Revolution; Burke's "Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs," in which he presents his classic defense of the Glorious Revolution of 1688; and his "A Letter to a Noble Lord," in which he defends his life and career against his detractors and, according to John Morley, writes "the most splendid repartee in the English language."

A foreword and headnotes to each selection point the reader to some of the key issues.

Daniel E. Ritchie is Professor of English Literature at Bethel College.

George Washington: A Collection Cover

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George Washington: A Collection

WB Allen

George Washington: A Collection is an important addition to the literature on the American Revolution. The book provides a splendid introduction to Washington and his political beliefs, to the events of the Revolution through which he lived, and to the eighteenth-century world.

—Pauline Maier, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

George Washington speaks for himself on behalf of liberty and the emerging American republic in this handsome book, the only one-volume compilation in print of his vast writings.

While every American recognizes Washington as a military leader and the great symbolic figure of the early republic, many fail to appreciate the full measure of Washington's contributions to the country. In these selections, his political ideas and judgments stand out with remarkable clarity. His writings are replete with sustained, thoughtful commentary. Washington must now be acknowledged as a man of keen political insight as well as a national hero.

Drawing extensively on his correspondence, this volume also includes all of his presidential addresses, various public proclamations, his last will and testament, and the most comprehensive recompilation of the "discarded first inaugural" ever printed.

W. B. Allen is Professor of Political Philosophy and Director of the Program in Public Policy and Administration at Michigan State University.

Government by Judiciary Cover

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Government by Judiciary

Raoul Berger

The Justices, who are virtually unaccountable, irremovable, and irreversible, have taken over from the people control of their own destiny.

— Raoul Berger

It is the thesis of this monumentally argued book that the United States Supreme Court—largely through abuses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution—has embarked on "a continuing revision of the Constitution, under the guise of interpretation." Consequently, the Court has subverted America's democratic institutions and wreaked havoc upon Americans' social and political lives.

One of the first constitutional scholars to question the rise of judicial activism in modern times, Raoul Berger points out that "the Supreme Court is not empowered to rewrite the Constitution, that in its transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment it has demonstrably done so. Thereby the Justices, who are virtually unaccountable, irremovable, and irreversible, have taken over from the people control of their own destiny, an awesome exercise of power."

The Court has accomplished this transformation by ignoring or actually distorting the original intent of both the framers and the supporters of the Fourteenth Amendment. In school desegregation and legislative reapportionment cases, for example, the Court manipulated the history, meaning, and purpose of the amendment's Equal Protection Clause in order to achieve a desired political result. In cases involving First Amendment freedoms and the rights of the accused, the judges converted the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause into a vehicle for the nationalization of the Bill of Rights. Yet these actions were nothing less than "usurpations" that robbed "from the States a power that unmistakably was left to them."

This new second edition includes the original text of 1977 and extensive supplementary discourses in which the author assesses and rebuts the responses of his critics.

Raoul Berger retired in 1976 as Charles Warren Senior Fellow in American Legal History, Harvard University.

The History of England Volume I Cover

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The History of England Volume I

David Hume

The History of England Volume II Cover

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The History of England Volume II

David Hume

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