This book makes a contribution to ongoing European research into the political discourse of the early modern era, analyzing the political discourse of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795). The sources comprise the broadly understood political literature from the end of the sixteenth century until the end of the eighteenth century. The author has selected and analysed concepts and ideas that are particularly important for the noble political discourse, with the aim of understanding what these concepts meant for the participants in public debate, who used them, how they explained and described the world, how they allowed for the formulation of political postulates and ideals, whether their meaning changed over time, and if so, then to what extent and under what influences. The author’s research focuses not only on the understanding of the concepts that functioned in the period under study but also on their use as instruments in the political struggle. The book is addressed to readers from the academic milieu – students and researchers – but is likewise accessible to less prepared readers interested in the history of political language and concepts as well as the history of political thought.
Table of Contents
Remarks from the Translator
1. Rzeczpospolita – The Commonwealth
2. Prawo – The Law
3. Wolność – Freedom
4. From Forma Mixta to the Separation of Powers
5. Zgoda – Concord
6. Cnota – Virtue as Advice for the Commonwealth
7. Amor Patriae – Patriotism
8. The Perceived Superiority of the "Old Ways": Dawny – Age-Old
9. In Conclusion, What Concepts Were Absent? Property
Anna Grześkowiak-Krwawicz is Professor and Head of the Enlightenment Literature Department at the Institute for Literary Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, and President of the Polish Society for Eighteenth Century Studies.