"The right we have to our owne bodies, goods, and liberties": The Freedom of the Ancient Constitution and Common Law in Milton's Early Prose
- Journal of the History of Ideas
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 85, Number 1, January 2024
- pp. 41-63
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Scholars have long recognized the importance of liberty in Milton's early prose, but they tend to center their analysis on republicanism. Although he would go on to express republicanism, Milton's early tracts tie liberty to English political and legal traditions rather than classical ones. Milton, in his early tracts, utilizes the language of the ancient constitution and the common law as he centers liberty on the property and bodies of English citizens, thus framing liberty in distinctly English terms. Additionally, Milton's early prose accepts the power of the monarch, revealing Milton's initial commitment to the existing political structure.