9780140240337 / 0140240330

Liberty against the Law: Some Seventeenth-Century Controversies


Publisher:Penguin Books



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About the book:

Christopher Hill, the peerless people's historian of the 17th century, has written a book that challenges the common history of liberty and the birth of liberal politics. While historians from Lord Acton to J. H. Hexter have written histories in which property-holding men figure as the champions of liberal freedom, Professor Hill deftly illustrates the manner in which enclosure laws and claims to property were used to deny the traditional rights of the common folk of 17th-century England. Drawing evidence from popular ballads, plays, and his extensive knowledge of the period's literature, Professor Hill demonstrates that the supposed "dawn" of liberal rights and freedoms brought economic dependence, penal punishment, and the loss of freedom for the rural poor and artisan classes who were being swiftly enveloped in a burgeoning commercial society.

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