With in-depth analysis of political philosophy and careful attention to historical context, this study locates the philosophical origins of the Anglo-American political and constitutional tradition in the philosophical, theological, and political controversies in seventeenth-century England. By examining the quarrel between the proponents of the doctrine of natural liberty and the champions of divine right theory, this study identifies the source of modern liberal, republican and conservative ideas about natural rights and government in the seminal works of the Exclusion Whigs Locke, Sidney, and Tyrrell and their philosophical forbears Hobbes, Grotius, Spinoza, and Pufendorf. These first Whigs and their intellectual heirs such as Bolingbroke, Montesquieu, Hume, Blackstone, Otis, Jefferson, Burke, and Paine contributed to the formation of Anglo-American political and constitutional theory in the crucial period from the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution and the creation of a distinctly American understanding of rights and government in the first state constitutions.
"This impressive volume breaks down the English Whig tradition into three major strands that have profoundly influenced the Anglo-American political tradition. Highly recommended." E.R. Gill, Bradley University, CHOICE "This book has many virtues. It is arguably the fullest account of the genesis of Whig political theory...a major contribution to the intellectual histoyr of the American Revolution...deserves a wide audience." - William and Mary Quarterly, Craig Yirush, UCLA "This is a well-written and welcome work..." American Historical Review Jerome Huyler, Seton Hall University