Hobbes, the Long Parliament, and the Church of England
This chapter contextualizes Hobbes's first published political text, De Cive (and its predecessor manuscript, ‘The Elements of Law’). It offers an interpretive account of the origins and early course of the English Civil War. The religious program of Charles I and his Archbishop Laud is presented as a major cause of the war. Their effort to revive a ‘dualist’ polity, in which church and state enjoyed separate but parallel power structures, triggered enormous resistance. A staunch Erastianism – designed to protect the political outcomes of the English Reformation – emerged as a major project of the Long Parliament. Hobbes's royalism, even at this early stage, was significantly qualified by his appreciation of the Parliament's Erastian project. The chapter also positions Hobbes among the royalists in exile in France.
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