Markku Peltonen: “Democracy in the English Revolution” (25/10/2018)

Markku Peltonen, de University of Helsinki, présentera sa communication « Democracy in the English Revolution », le jeudi 25 octobre 2018 de 17h30 à 19h. Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, 75006, salle D421.

The aim of the paper is to examine the debate about democracy during the English Republic. Historians, when studying democracy in the 1640s and 1650s, have mainly focused on the Levellers, but my paper explores the period of the English Republic (1649-53), when, I seek to argue, democracy was openly advocated. When the monarchy and the House of Lords were abolished in March 1649, England, being ruled by the House of Commons (or what was left of it), became a democracy of a sort. This prompted several pamphleteers, defending the Republic and its Engagement (act which demanded all adult males to declare loyalty to the Republic), not only to explore the themes of democracy but also to defend democracy as the best form of government. The constitutional debate of the English Republic, I suggest, was amongst the most wide-ranging discussions of democracy in early-modern Europe. The paper argues that this was one of the only times in the history of European political thought before the eighteenth century that democracy was being discussed in highly positive terms, and perhaps the first time that democracy was interpreted in representative terms.

Markku Peltonen is an Academy Research Professor and Professor of History at the University of Helsinki. His main research interest lies in the history of early-modern political thought, on which he has published three monographs Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought 1570–1640 (1995), The Duel in Early Modern England: Civility, Politeness and Honour (2003) Rhetoric, Politics and Popularity in Pre-Revolutionary England, (2013) all published by CUP. He has edited The Cambridge Companion to Bacon (1996) and has numerous scholarly articles and chapters in print. His current research project is on republicanism, democracy and political accountability in Revolutionary England.

Discutant : Cesare Cuttica (Université Paris 8)

Contact : Sandrine Parageau (