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Arbitrary RuleSlavery, Tyranny, and the Power of Life and Death$
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Mary Nyquist

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226015538

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226015675.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Sixteenth-Century French and English Resistance Theory

Sixteenth-Century French and English Resistance Theory

(p.57) CHAPTER TWO Sixteenth-Century French and English Resistance Theory
Arbitrary Rule

Mary Nyquist

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the resistance against tyranny as conceived by early moderns. Of the various contexts relevant to understanding early modernism's interest in resistance, contract, and rights, Greco-Roman antityrannicism arguably occupies a privileged position, partly because it provides a baseline against which new developments can be measured. Western European humanists appropriate this feature of classical political theory in historically unique cultural and economic conditions. Early modern writers adapt Greco-Roman antityrannicism to its new setting in a multitude of ways, several of which will be examined here. One aim of the chapter is to explore how the Greco-Roman polarity between the free and enslaved facilitates the emergence of “free” identities on the part of new socioeconomic groups, political participants, and nation-states, together with the discursive construction of “unfree” identities for those colonized or enslaved.

Keywords:   resistance against tyranny, Greco-Roman antityrannicism, western European humanists, classical political theory, free identities, unfree identities

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