The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw the rise of capitalism and the modern nation-state, the establishment of an increasingly international economy, and the beginnings of modern colonialism. It was a turbulent time, marked by revolutionary developments in culture and religion, social conflict, political upheaval, and civil war. It was also an age of passionate debate and radical innovation in political theory and practice. Many contemporary political ideologies and concepts—ideas of the state, civil society, property, and individual rights, to name a few—can trace their ancestry to this era.
Illuminating the roots of contemporary Western political thought, A Trumpet of Sedition surveys canonical texts by prominent thinkers such as Thomas More, Richard Hooker, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke, radicals like the Levellers and Gerrard Winstanley and other less well known but important figures. In clear and lively prose, while situating them in their social and political context in new and original ways and contrasting the English case to others in Europe. By examining political ideas not merely as free-floating abstractions but as living encounters with the historical experience—the formation of the English state and the rise of agrarian capitalism—A Trumpet of Sedition illuminates the roots of contemporary Western political thought.