The Social and Political Ideas of Some English Thinkers of the Augustan Age, A. D. 1650-1750: A Series of Lectures Delivered at King's College, University of London, during the Session 1927-28

By F. J. C. Hearnshaw | Go to book overview

THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL IDEAS OF SOME ENGLISH THINKERS OF THE AUGUSTAN AGE

I INTRODUCTORY
THE AUGUSTAN AGE

THE course to which the present lecture serves as an introduction is to deal with the social and political ideas of some English thinkers who wrote in a period of which the end was nearly two hundred years ago, and the length about what we commonly reckon as three generations. It begins just before the Restoration of King Charles II. It covers the twenty-five years of intrigue and excitement through which he dexterously kept his crown. It takes in the reign of Charles's brother James II, who was ousted by his son-in-law William of Orange and his daughter, who became Queen Mary. After the time of these successful revolutionists it leads us through the glorious reign of Mary's younger sister Queen Anne, in which domestic politics still revolved round the chances of plots and counterplots, into the more comfortable days of the Georges, when counter-revolution ceased to be a serious possibility, when fallen ministers retired to the country instead of fleeing to the Continent, and the United Kingdom settled down to become powerful and rich without the Stuart dynasty and all it had meant. What the Stuarts had meant to themselves and to contemporaries, and what were the other ideas which political writers opposed to theirs or tried to reconcile with them: these are the subjects with which we shall be occupied. The political events, Parliamentary divisions, movements of troops and fleets, State trials, impeachments, executions, were in the background of the social and political ideas. They were present to the minds of these authors as they sat

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