Richard Ashcraft offers a new interpretation of the political thought of John Locke by viewing his ideas, especially those in the "Two Treatises of Government," in the context of his political activity. Linking the implications of Locke's political theory with his practical politics, Professor Ashcraft focuses on Locke's involvement with the radical Whigs, who challenged the established order in England from the 1670s to the 1690s. An equally important aim of the author is to provide a case study of a revolutionary movement that includes a discussion of its organization, ideology, socio-economic composition, and political activities.
Based upon a detailed examination of manuscripts, diaries, correspondence, and newspapers, Professor Ashcraft presents a wealth of new historical evidence on the political life of Restoration England. This study represents an example of an approach to political theory that stresses the importance of authorial intentions and of the political, social, and economic influences that structure a particular political debate.