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Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England$
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Blair Worden

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199230822

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199230822.001.0001

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Milton and the Commonwealth

Milton and the Commonwealth

(p.218) 10 Milton and the Commonwealth
Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England

Blair Worden

Oxford University Press

John Milton and Marchamont Nedham agreed that Pride's Purge and the regicide, the emergency measures, had delivered England from a return to tyranny. So long as the royalist military threat survived, Nedham's propaganda was mainly negative. It had more to say about the evils of royalism and Presbyterianism than about the virtues of kingless rule. Yet the concluding chapter of The Case of the Commonwealth in May 1650, a work published when the morale of the government was at its lowest point and when the regime was desperate for survival, departed from that policy and supplied his adventurous ‘discourse of the excellency of a free state above a kingly government’. By the time of the Battle of Worcester he had, on the same subject, a book or series of essays up his sleeve.

Keywords:   John Milton, Marchamont Nedham, Pride's Purge, regicide, England, tyranny, propaganda, royalism, Presbyterianism

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