Debating – and Creating – Authority
The Failure of a Constitutional Ideal in Massachusetts Bay, 1629-1649
This title was first published in 2001. In the tight frame of its first twenty years, Massachusetts Bay dramatically altered its constitutional order from a theocracy to an oligarchy, led by magistrates who created their own authority and defined the limits on their almost unlimited power. Debating-and Creating-Authority examines this shift in constitutional order at various levels and looks in particular at the efforts to create the theocracy and its subsequent collapse in terms of a fundamental democratical flaw at the centre of the theocratic ideal.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Imagining a polity; A system at odds with itself; Crises of authority; Failure of authority; Authority and orthodoxy; Reinterpretations; Untethering the beast; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
Elizabeth Dale, Assistant Professor, US Legal History Department of History, University of Florida, Gainsville, Florida, USA
’...a useful contribution to the literature on Puritan New England.’ Journal of American History