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.
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