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Sovereignty: Seventeenth-Century England and the Making of the Modern Political Imaginary$
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Feisal G. Mohamed

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198852131

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198852131.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Sovereignty: Seventeenth-Century England and the Making of the Modern Political Imaginary

Feisal G. Mohamed

Oxford University Press

A modern politics attaching itself to the state must adopt a position sovereignty, by which is meant the political settlement in which potestas and auctoritas are aligned. Three competing forms are identified: unitary sovereignty, divided and balanced sovereignty, and the view that sovereign power must be limited by universal principles. Each of these forms can be divided into “red” and “black” varieties, depending on the imagined relationship between sovereign power and modern conditions of flux. A chapter outline introduces the figures who will be explored in the book as a whole: Thomas Hobbes; William Fiennes, Lord Saye and Sele; John Barclay and the romance writers of the 1650s whom he influences; John Milton; and Andrew Marvell. Also described is the book’s sustained engagement of Carl Schmitt, and the ways in which his thought on sovereignty is an example of the competition amongst the concept’s three competing forms.

Keywords:   sovereignty, republicanism, raison d’état, John Milton, Carl Schmitt

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