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Wrong TurningsHow the Left Got Lost$
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Geoffrey M. Hodgson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226505749

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226505916.001.0001

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Progressive Radicalism before the Left

Progressive Radicalism before the Left

(p.14) Chapter 1 Progressive Radicalism before the Left
Wrong Turnings

Geoffrey M. Hodgson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter concentrates on European ideas in the period from 1381 to 1789, noting that many early revolts appealed to religion for justification. Some called for communal ownership, but typically on a small scale. Contrary to a widespread misinterpretation, the English Levellers of the 1640s defended private property. They saw the legitimacy of government as grounded on the will of the people. Previously, the Reformation in Europe had led to rival claims of possible religious legitimation of authority. There were Catholics and multiple Protestant groups, each with its own religious legitimation of political power. Facing and rebutting these rival claims, radicals were impelled to call for religious toleration and a secular state. This secular trajectory, combined with the growth of science, formed the background for the Enlightenment, which argued for the supremacy of reason over superstition.

Keywords:   religion, revolution, common ownership, legitimation of political authority, The Enlightenment

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