filmer patriarcha summary
His claim to fame is being the subject of John Locke's brilliant refutation, which is the reason I read this. Filmer considered it monstrous that the people should judge or depose their king, for they would then become judges in their own cause. Filmer is famous for being "Locke's Straw Man," and with a certain amount of justification. Book-binder, in Amen-Corner, near Pater-noster-row, 1680. Filmer, Robert, Sir (d. 1653). In every class I've ever taken where the history of political thought was a point of discussion, from my seventh-grade American history class to the Shakespeare seminar I took last spring, the divine right of kings gets a very quick run through, presented as little more than an arcane and childlike superstition that was swiftly and easily cleared away once Hobbes and Locke wiped the dogmatic crust off of their eyes and articulated the contract theory which forms the very foundation of liberalism. Patriarcha or, The Natural The eldest child of Sir Edward Filmer and Elizabeth Filmer (née Argall) of East Sutton in Kent, he matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1604. Locke claims that Filmer’s doctrine… Read More In the beginning God gave authority to Adam, who had complete control over his descendants, even over life and death itself. This volume contains the political writings of Sir Robert Filmer (1588-1653), an acute defender of absolute monarchy and perhaps the most important patriarchal political theorist of the seventeenth century. that the state should be seen as a family whose father was the king to Sir Robert Filmer (c. 1588 – 26 May 1653) was an English political theorist who defended the divine right of kings. Nine years after the publication of Patriarcha, at the time of the Revolution which banished the Stuarts from the throne, John Locke singled out Filmer among the advocates of Divine Right and attacked him expressly in the first part of the Two Treatises of Government. Such ideas seemed to Charles I and later Stuart monarchs to provide a Johann Sommerville (Editor). As for the English constitution, he asserted in his Freeholders Grand Inquest touching our Sovereign Lord the King and his Parliament (1648) that the Lords give counsel only to the king, that the Commons are to perform and consent only to the ordinances of Parliament, and that the king alone is the maker of laws, which derive their power purely from his will. rationale for the absolutist right to govern, notwithstanding the Freeholder’s Grand Inquest (1679) which argued that Parliament only He was called to the bar in 1613, but there is no evidence he practised law. Filmer argued Filmer was investigated by the county committee on suspicion of supporting the King, though no firm evidence was uncovered. Announcing our NEW encyclopedia for Kids! The Filmer attacks what he sees as the two enemies of Royal power, the Jesuits and the Calvinists, and states two royalist principles: divine right and the duty of passive obedience.He tries to show that the king's power is derived from the natural authority of parents, and that Adam was the first king. The recent explosion of interest in women's history and the history of the family has greatly enhanced the audience for Filmer's work, and in this new edition Johann Sommerville provides accurate and accessible texts of his principal writings, accompanied by all the standard series features, including a concise introduction, chronology, guide to further reading and notes on Filmer's own text. But, the habit once formed, nothing is easier than to transfer it from one object to another. College, Cambridge, and at Lincoln’s Inn. Without the previous establishment of domestic government, blood only, and probably a long course of it, could have formed political government. And yet, until one sees Locke's radicalization of the notion of the state, Filmer's description of late-renaissance/early modern political authority does seem to have a certain "common-sense" appeal. Be the first to ask a question about Patriarcha and Other Writings. R. S. Downie considers Filmer's attacks on contract and consent as explanations of political obligation to be plausible, and finds it unfortunate that Filmer's belief in Adam's kingship has obscured them. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. %%EOF His writing is clear and concise, but he is also dull. [3], Patriarcha remains Filmer's best known work. Here Filmer is most likely to be quoting the legend of Noah sailing up the Mediterranean and allocating the three continents of the Old World to the rule of his three sons. Students studying political philosophy will find this book invaluable! The recent explosion of interest in women's history and the history of the family has greatly enhanced the audience for Filmer's work, and in this new edition Johann So. The argument is pretty flimsy for most of the book, although I would give him some credit for the early sections. 0000008333 00000 n He was…, …theorist, Sir Robert Filmer, whose Patriarcha (1680, though probably written in the 1630s) defended the theory of divine right of kings: the authority of every king is divinely sanctioned by his descent from Adam—according to the Bible, the first king and the father of humanity. 0000003735 00000 n Sir Robert Filmer (c. 1588 – 26 May 1653) was an English political theorist who defended the divine right of kings. Filmer's political tracts, which were published between 1648 and 1653, In an unpublished manuscript, Jeremy Bentham wrote: Filmer's origin of government is exemplified everywhere: Locke's scheme of government has not ever, to the knowledge of any body, been exemplified any where. The first Treatise goes into all his arguments seriatim, and especially points out that even if the first principles of his argument are to be taken for granted, the rights of the eldest born have been so often cast aside that modern kings can claim no such inheritance of authority, as Filmer asserts. From Adam this authority was inherited by Noah. Sir Robert Filmer: ‘Patriarcha’ and Other Writings. His reasoning is a bit sloppy and his concept of the state and of the foundation of political obligation is not completely accurate. derived his argument from the premise that Adam was the first earthly of Charles I and thus came to be knighted. By the next year his properties in Westminster and Kent were being heavily taxed to fund the Parliamentary cause. repeated in his tract The Necessity of the Absolute Power of All …(1679) and his major work, Patriarcha, was published for the first time (1680). [5] Filmer's modern proponents counter this by noting that the focus on Filmer's biblical arguments neglects his stronger arguments from history and logic.[6]. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. He died in 1668 and the East Sutton estate passed to his brother Robert who was created a baronet in 1674 in honour of their father's loyalty to the Crown. Another was The Anarchy of a Limited or Between the first and second chapters, Filmer establishes a self-reinforcing argument where the Bible and Aristotle’s philosophy mutual. In 1705 the non-juror Charles Leslie devoted twelve successive issues of the weekly Rehearsal to explaining Filmer's doctrines and published them in a volume.[10]. Patriarcha represents an attack on Calvinists and Jesuits, two enemies of royal power in Filmer’s view. Locke claims that Filmer’s doctrine…. His best known work, “Though Aristotle allows so many several forms of corrupted governments; yet he insists upon no one form of all those that he can define or describe, in such sort, that he is able to say that any one city in all Greece was governed just according to such a form; his diligence is only to make as many forms as the giddy or inconstant humour of a city could happen upon; he freely gives the people liberty to invent as many kinds of government as they please, provided he may have liberty to find fault with every one of them; it proved an easier work for him to find fault with every form, than to tell how to amend any one of them; he found so many imperfections in all sorts of common-weals, that he could not hold from reproving them before ever he tells us what a commonweal is, or how many sorts there are, and to this purpose he spends his whole second book in setting out, and correcting the chief commonweals of Greece, and among others the Lacedemonian, the Cretan and Carthaginian commonweals; which three he esteems to be much alike, and better than any other, yet he spares not to lay open their imperfections, and doth the like to the Athenian; wherein he breaks the rule of method, by delivering the faults of commonweals, before he teach us what a commonweal is; for in his first book, he speaks only of the parts, of which a city, or a commonweal is made, but tells us not what a city or commonweal is, until he come to his third book, and there in handling the sorts of government, he observes no method at all, but in a disorderly way, flies backward and forward from one sort to another: and howsoever there may be observed in him many rules of policy touching government in general, yet without doubt where he comes to discourse of particular forms, he is full of contradiction, or confusion, or both: it is true, he is brief and difficult, the best right a man can do him, is to confess lie understands him not; yet a diligent reader may readily discern so many irregularities and breaches in Aristotle's books of Politics, as tend to such distraction or confusion, that none of our new politicians can make advantage of his principles, for the confirmation of an original power by nature in the people, which is the only theme now in fashion: for Aristotle's discourse is of such commonweals as were founded by particular persons, as the Chalcedonian by Phaleas, the Milesian by Hippodamas, the Lacedemonian by Lycurgus, the Cretan by Minos, the Athenian by Solon, and the like: but the natural right of the people to found, or elect; their kind of government is not once disputed by him: it seems the underived majesty of the people, was such a metaphysical piece of speculation as our grand philosopher was not acquainted with; he speaks very contemptuously of the multitude in several places, he affirms that the people are base or wicked judges in their own cases, ‘οι πλειστοι φαυλοι κριται περι των οικειων and that many of them differ nothing from beasts; τι διαφερουσιν ενιοι των θηριων; and again he saith, the common people or freemen are such as are neither rich, nor in reputation for virtue; and it is not safe to commit to them great governments; for, by reason of their injustice and unskilfulness, they would do much injustice, and commit many errors and it is pleasanter to the multitude to live disorderly, than soberly, ‘ηδιον γαρ τοις πολλοις το ζην ατακτως η το σωφρονως.”, (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought), Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought, "...if _______ is not the book version of everything horrible and unjust that the patriarchy stands for, I do not know what is.

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