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THERE IS SCARCE A PAMPHLET

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Abstract:

This article examines how the work associated with Henry de Bracton functioned in early modern political and legal thought as an ideograph, a one-word summation of arguments deployed by communities in support of ideological goals. The first part explains the medieval and early modern milieu of 'Bracton' and discusses key folios in context. In the second section the authors discuss in detail the ways in which Civil War Royalists and Parliamentarians made De Legibus pertinent to their antithetical causes. The third part explores 'Bracton's' role in the disputes of the late Stuart period, when attempts to alter the succession in Charles II's reign and at the Glorious Revolution brought a reprise of civil war theorizing. Finally, whereas many early modernists see in seventeenth-century England a break with the medieval past, we follow the lead of those medieval scholars who treat the history of political ideas from the twelfth to the seventeenth century as a single epoch. In so doing we hope to contribute to the ongoing discussion of how seventeenth-century political literature can best be read and understood.

Keywords: Bracton; Charles Herle; De Legibus; Dudley Digges; English civil war; Glorious Revolution; Henry Ferne; John Marsh; John Milton; Long Parliament; On the Laws and Customs of England; Robert Filmer; Sir John Spelman; Stuart legal and political thought; Tory; Whig; William Prynne; medieval legal and political thought; parliamentarian; royalist

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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