Smith, Thomas

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Abstract

Smith’s political philosophy of a mixed monarchical government, in which Parliament and citizens had an active ruling function, expressed most famously in his De Republica Anglorum (published after his death in 1583) emerged both from his intellectual involvement in the crucible of late Henrician Reformation political and theological debate, and his practical experience of political office during the reigns of both Edward VI and Elizabeth I. In that work, as well as through the privately circulated A Discourse of the Commonweal of England, Smith first articulates what later becomes a commonplace account of English political stability: that the political structures of the English state echo and represent the social structure, in which there is a balance between Commons, Lords and monarch, between centre and regions, all subject to the law. His political embassy in France enabled him to contrast the developing English model of ‘mixed government’ with the more oligarchic French practice. Nevertheless, this open political model continued to exclude men who did not own land, and all women: his inclusive social and political model uses the patriarchal family as exemplum.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy
EditorsMarco Sgarbi
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherSpringer
ISBN (Print)9783319141688
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2021

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Aughterson, K. (2021). Smith, Thomas. In M. Sgarbi (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy New York: Springer.