Originally published in 1987. This book analyses what Englishmen understood by the term contract in political discussions during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It provides evidence for reconsidering conventional accounts of the relationships between political ideas, groups and practices of the period. But also suggests cause for examining the general history of modern European contract theory. It considers contract as a term appearing in a spectrum of works from philosophical treatise to sermons and polemical pamphlets. Looking at the various vocabularies relating to contractualist ideas, the author suggests that standard histories of social contract theory and particular histories of English political thought during this unstable period have misrepresented the meaning of the term contract as a key term in political argument. He shows that there were in fact three different categories of contract theory but allows that the various kinds of contractualism did share certain broad features. This study of a crucial age in the history of appeals to contract in political argument will be of interest to political philosophers and historians.
Table of Contents
Preface Part 1 1. Introduction 2. Appeals to Contract in the Controversies over the Revolution Part 2 3. Constitutional Contract 4. William Atwood 5. Robert Ferguson Part 3 6. Philosophical Contract 7. John Locke Part 4 8. Integrated Contract 9. Algernon Sidney 10. James Tyrell Part 5 11. Conclusion