The Debate on Property during the First English Revolution 1647-1659 : A Historical Perspective

Abstract : The aim of this paper is to provide a historical background to the radical proposals formulated by Thomas Spence concerning property, to the extent that they are reminiscent of the debates that took place at the time of the First English Revolution. I will start with the well-known Army debates of 1647-49 not only because they are well documented, but because, beyond the pressing question of the king's fate, they epitomize the conflicting views about property in revolutionary England and its relation to political rights. I will then briefly examine Gerrard Winstanley's views on property which underlay the communist experiment on St George's Hill of 1649. I will then turn to the republican thinker James Harrington insofar as he shared with the Levellers and the Diggers the belief that imbalances in the distribution of property was key to understand the political transformations that the country experienced in the 1640s. His agrarian law was one the pillars of his ideal republic.
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Myriam-Isabelle Ducrocq. The Debate on Property during the First English Revolution 1647-1659 : A Historical Perspective. Miranda : Revue pluridisciplinaire sur le monde anglophone. Multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal on the English-speaking world , Laboratoire CAS (Cultures anglo-saxonnes), 2016, ⟨10.4000/miranda.9084⟩. ⟨hal-01640342⟩

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