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THE REPUBLICANISM OF JOHN MILTON: NATURAL RIGHTS, CIVIC VIRTUE AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN

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Abstract:

This article considers the connection between Milton’s republicanism and his use of natural rights language. Based on Milton’s understanding of man’s dignity, it claims that natural rights and civic virtue are articulated consistently. Inextricably linked to his being created free, the dignity of man is central both in the description of the birth of political society and in the defence of the inalienable right to liberty against tyrannical government. Thus, while not an end in itself, civic virtue nevertheless has an irreducible moral value, for being a virtuous citizen means first of all exercising one’s own freedom in a way that complies with the natural dignity of man.

Keywords: Milton; civic virtue; dignity of man; liberty; natural rights; republicanism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-01-01

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