English republicanism has long been a major theme in the history of political thought, but the years of the English free state are often overlooked. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including the vast political pamphlet literature of the era, The Political Thought of the English Free State, 1649–1653 offers a provocative reassessment of the English Revolution and an original new perspective on English republicanism. Markku Peltonen explores the arguments in defence of the English free state and demonstrates the profound importance of the republican period. The pamphleteers who defended the free state maintained that the people, or their representatives, could alter the form of government whenever they deemed it advantageous, put forward powerful anti-monarchical arguments and widely shared the republican conviction that individual freedom could only materialise in a free state. Peltonen also highlights the unprecedented debate over whether the free state was an aristocracy or democracy and shows how, for the first time in English history, democracy was not only robustly defended but understood as representative.
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