Yesterday we mentioned Thomas Hobbes and his book Leviathan, which a modern political theorist presumes to update. Hobbes is one of those classic writers who stimulates thought and advances important ideas, even though the reader disagrees with his conclusions.
Hobbes was writing just after the English Civil War (1642-1651), when the Puritans rebelled against the monarchy, defeated the king’s supporters in battle, and executed King Charles I.
(The Puritans and their allies, the even more radical Separatists, give us a Thanksgiving tie-in. The Mayflower “Pilgrims” settled in the New World because they were persecuted by King James, of Bible-translation fame, because they rejected the state church. Such tensions intensified under the next king, Charles I, whose policies were opposed by the Puritan-dominated Parliament, leading to the king trying to dissolve parliament, parliament refusing to be dissolved, and both sides raising armies. In the Americas, the descendants of the Pilgrims cheered the victorious rebels, accounting for the anti-monarchy strain in the colonies that was heightened after the British monarchy was restored and former rebels fled to the colonies to escape the new king, Charles II.)