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L I T E R AT U R E A N D T H E O RY, 1 5 0 0 À1 8 0 0

The history of British political thought has been one of the most
fertile fields of Anglo-American historical writing in the last half-
century. David Armitage brings together an interdisciplinary and
international team of authors to consider the impact of this
scholarship on the study of early modern British history, English
literature and political theory. Leading historians survey the impact
of the history of political thought on the ˜new™ histories of Britain
and Ireland; eminent literary scholars offer novel critical methods
attentive to literary form, genre and language; and distinguished
political theorists treat the conceptual and material relationships
between history and theory. The outstanding examples of critical
practice collected here will encourage the emergence of new research
on the historical, critical and theoretical study of the English-
speaking world in the period c. 1500À1800. This volume celebrates
the contribution of the Folger Institute to British studies over many

d a v i d a r m i t a g e is Professor of History at Harvard University.
He is the author of The Ideological Origins of the British Empire
(2000), Greater Britain, 1516À1776: Essays in Atlantic History (2004),
and The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (2006), and
editor of Bolingbroke: Political Writings for Cambridge Texts in the
History of Political Thought (1997), Theories of Empire, 1450À1800
(1998), and Hugo Grotius: The Free Sea (2004). He is also co-editor
of Milton and Republicanism (with Armand Himy and Quentin
Skinner, 1995) and The British Atlantic World, 1500À1800 (with
Michael J. Braddick, 2002).
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edited by
Department of History, Harvard University

Published in association with the
Folger Institute, Washington, DC
Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK
Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521870412

© Cambridge University Press 2006

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of
relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place
without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published in print format 2006

978-0-511-26869-4 eBook (EBL)
ISBN-10 0-511-26869-6 eBook (EBL)

978-0-521-87041-2 hardback
0-521-87041-0 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls
for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not
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Acknowledgements page vii
Notes on Contributors ix

Introduction 1
David Armitage

1 The History of British Political Thought: a Field and
its Futures 10
J. G. A. Pocock, Gordon Schochet and Lois G. Schwoerer

part i: british political thought and history
2 Thinking about the New British History 23
John Morrill
3 The Matter of Britain and the Contours of
British Political Thought 47
Colin Kidd
4 The Intersections Between Irish and British Political
Thought of the Early-Modern Centuries 67
Nicholas Canny
5 In Search of a British History of Political Thought 89
Tim Harris

part ii: british political thought and literature
6 Republicanism in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Britain 111
Andrew Hadfield
7 Dramatic Traditions and Shakespeare™s Political Thought 129
Jean E. Howard

8 Irony, Disguise and Deceit: What Literature Teaches us
about Politics 145
Steven N. Zwicker
9 Poetry and Political Thought: Liberty and Benevolence
in the Case of the British Empire c. 1680À1800 168
Karen O™Brien

part iii: british political thought and
political theory
10 The Nature of Rights and the History of Empire 191
Duncan Ivison
11 Reading the Private in Margaret Cavendish:
Conversations in Political Thought 212
Joanne H. Wright
12 Reflections on Political Literature: History, Theory
and the Printed Book 235
Kirstie M. McClure
13 Here and Now, There and Then, Always and Everywhere:
Reflections Concerning Political Theory and the
Study/Writing of Political Thought 254
Richard E. Flathman
Afterword 278
Quentin Skinner

Bibliography 286
Index 319

Earlier versions of most of the papers collected in this volume were
presented at the conference ˜British Political Thought in History,
Literature and Theory™, held at the Folger Shakespeare Library in
Washington, DC, in April 2005. The conference was planned by the
Steering Committee of the Center for the History of British Political
Thought: John Pocock, Kathleen Lynch, Linda Levy Peck, Gordon
Schochet and myself. The event would not have been possible without
the support of the Folger Institute or the invaluable work of Kathleen
Lynch, Owen Williams, Virginia Millington and Carol Brobeck. That a
volume of chapters has emerged so quickly is in large part due to the help
and encouragement offered by the Steering Committee, not least by its
long-serving former member, Lois Schwoerer, but especially by its chair,
John Pocock. It is also thanks to the exceptional research assistance of
Paul B. Davis and to the support of the Humanities Research Centre at
the Australian National University. The confidence and enthusiasm of
Richard Fisher on behalf of Cambridge University Press have been
invaluable throughout. Finally, I am particularly grateful to the
contributors for the efficiency and cheerfulness with which they
undertook revisions under tight deadlines: they have amply proved that
the history of British political thought is among the most cooperative and
collegial of all fields of study.

Notes on Contributors

d a v i d a r m i t a g e is Professor of History at Harvard University.
Among his publications are Milton and Republicanism (co-editor,
1995), The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (2000) and The
Declaration of Independence: A Global History (2006). He is now
working on a study of the foundations of modern international
thought and editing John Locke™s colonial writings.
n i c h o l a s c a n n y , m r i a , f b a , is Professor of History and Director
of the Research Institute in the Humanities and Social Studies at the
National University of Ireland, Galway. Among his publications are
The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland: A Pattern Established, 1565“1576
(1976), The Oxford History of the British Empire, volume 1: The Origins
of Empire (editor, 1998) and Making Ireland British, 1580“1650 (2001).
He is currently working on a study of Europe and its expanding world,
1450“1700, and editing Edmund Spenser™s View of the Present State of
r i c h a r d e . f l a t h m a n is George Armstrong Kelly Professor of
Political Science at The Johns Hopkins University. Among his
publications are Thomas Hobbes: Skepticism, Individuality, and
Chastened Politics (2nd edition, 2003), Reflections of a Would-be
Anarchist (1998) and Pluralism and Liberal Democracy (2005).
a n d r e w h a d f i e l d is Professor of English at the University of Sussex.
Among his publications are Shakespeare, Spenser and the Matter of
Britain (2003), Shakespeare and Republicanism (2005) and The Oxford
History of the Irish Book, Vol. 3: The Irish Book in English, 1550“1800
(co-editor, 2005). He is now working on a biography of Edmund
t i m h a r r i s is Monro“Goodwin“Wilkinson Professor in European
History at Brown University. Among his publications are Politics under
Notes on Contributors
the Later Stuarts (1993), Restoration: Charles II and His Kingdoms,
1660“1685 (2005) and Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British
Monarchy, 1685“1720 (2006). He is now working on a ˜prequel™ to
Restoration and Revolution and on a study of prejudice in early-modern
j e a n e . h o w a r d is William B. Ransford Professor of English and
Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Among her publica-
tions are Shakespeare™s Art of Orchestration (1984), The Stage and Social
Struggle in Early Modern England (1994) and Engendering a Nation:
A Feminist Account of Shakespeare™s English Histories (co-author, 1997).
Her next book will be a study of the relationship of London comedies
to the changing nature of the city, 1598“1642.
d u n c a n i v i s o n is Associate Professor of Political Science at the
University of Toronto and of Philosophy at the University of Sydney.
Among his publications are The Self at Liberty: Political Argument and
the Arts of Government (1997), Political Theory and the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples (co-editor, 2000) and Postcolonial Liberalism (2002).
c o l i n k i d d is Professor of Modern History at the University of
Glasgow and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is the author of
Subverting Scotland™s Past (1993), British Identities before Nationalism
(1999) and The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant
Atlantic World, 1600“2000 (2006).
k i r s t i e m . m c c l u r e is Associate Professor of Political Science and
English at the University of California Los Angeles. Among her
publications are Judging Rights: Lockean Politics and the Limits of
Consent (1996) and Feminist Perspectives on John Locke (co-editor,
j o h n m o r r i l l , f b a , is Professor of British and Irish History at the
University of Cambridge. Among his publications are The Nature of
the English Revolution (1993), The British Problem, c. 1534“1707
(co-editor, 1996) and ˜Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears a Crown™:
Dynastic Crises in Tudor and Stewart Britain and Ireland, 1504“1746
(2005). He is now working on a study to be entitled Living with
Revolution in Seventeenth-century Britain and Ireland.
k a r e n o ™ b r i e n is Professor of English Literature at the University of
Warwick. Among her publications are Narratives of Enlightenment:
Cosmopolitan History from Voltaire to Gibbon (1997),˜Poetry against
Notes on Contributors xi
Empire: Milton to Shelley™, in Proceedings of the British Academy
(2002) and Feminist Debate in Eighteenth-Century Britain
j . g . a . p o c o c k is Harry C. Black Professor of History Emeritus at The
Johns Hopkins University. Among his publications are The Varieties of
British Political Thought, 1500“1800 (co-editor, 1993), The Discovery
of Islands: Essays in British History (2005) and Barbarism and Religion,
4 volumes to date (1999“2006).
g o r d o n s c h o c h e t is Professor of Political Science at Rutgers
University. Among his publications are Patriarchalism in Political
Thought (1975), Proceedings of the Folger Institute Center for the History
British Political Thought, 6 volumes (co-editor, 1999“2003) and Rights
in Context (forthcoming). He is now working on political Hebraism in
early-modern Europe.
l o i s g . s c h w o e r e r is Elmer Louis Kayser Professor of History
Emeritus at The George Washington University. Among her
publications are The Declaration of Rights, 1689 (1981), The
Revolution of 1688“1689: Changing Perspectives (editor, 1992) and The
Ingenious Mr. Henry Care: Restoration Publicist (2002). She is now
working on a study of guns and civilians in Tudor-Stuart England.

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