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The Corporate CommonwealthPluralism and Political Fictions in England, 1516-1651$
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Henry S. Turner

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226363356

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226363493.001.0001

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The Political Economy of Sir Thomas Smith

The Political Economy of Sir Thomas Smith

(p.33) Chapter Two The Political Economy of Sir Thomas Smith
The Corporate Commonwealth

Henry S. Turner

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines mid-sixteenth-century discussions of the idea of the commonwealth, with reference to the writings of the statesman and jurist Sir Thomas Smith (1513-77). Through a discussion of Smith’s A Discourse of this Commonweal of England (ca.1549; pub. 1581) and De Republica Anglorum (1565; pub. 1583), the chapter tracks the emergence of a mid-sixteenth-century discourse of political economy, showing how key terms and ideas inherited from Aristotle and Cicero, especially polis and societas, came to be understood either as species of corporate ideas or as in need of displacement by new ideas about commercial interaction, law, and governance.

Keywords:   Sir Thomas Smith, A Discourse of this Commonweal of England, De Republica Anglorum, Aristotle, Cicero, political economy, society, commonwealth, law, Parliament

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