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Patriot Royalism: The Stuart Monarchy in American Political Thought, 1769-1775

May 18 @ 5:30 pm-7:30 pm

This lecture will make the case that American patriots of the early 1770s became the last Atlantic defenders of the early Stuart monarchs. Their constitutional argument—that America was “outside of the realm” of Great Britain and therefore to be governed, not by Parliament, but by the royal prerogative—had famously been made by James I and Charles I in their acrimonious disputes with Parliament over colonial affairs in the 1620s. Most patriot writers were fully aware of the provenance of this new position and enthusiastically embraced its ideological implications. A proper reckoning with the story of Patriot Royalism should allow us to appreciate the true drama of the republican turn in 1776, as well as to understand the persistent allure of prerogative powers in the formative period of American constitutionalism.Eric Nelson is professor of Government at Harvard University. His research focuses on the history of political thought in early-modern Europe and America, and on the implications of that history for debates in contemporary political theory. Particular interests include the history of republican political theory, the reception of classical political thought in early-modern Europe, theories of property, and the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. Nelson is the author of The Hebrew Republic: Jewish Sources and the Transformation of European Political Thought (Harvard/Belknap, 2010) and The Greek Tradition in Republican Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2004), as well as editor of Hobbes’s translations of the Iliad and Odyssey for the Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes (The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2008).For more information, please visit http://www.spa.ucla.edu/liberty


May 18
5:30 pm-7:30 pm
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