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A False Tree of LibertyHuman Rights in Radical Thought$
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Susan Marks

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675456

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199675456.001.0001

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Trees and Liberty

Trees and Liberty

Chapter:
(p.211) 9 Trees and Liberty
Source:
A False Tree of Liberty
Author(s):

Susan Marks

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199675456.003.0009

Trees feature repeatedly in the preceding chapters of this book — whether as metaphors or in the material form of forests, hedges, and wood. As a way of drawing the various strands of the discussion together, this chapter foregrounds that arboreal preoccupation. Among other things, it highlights the trope of the tree of liberty, and finds not one, but three liberty trees in the public discourse of 1790s England, one of which identifies the rights of man promoted by Thomas Paine and others with a ‘false tree of liberty’ that would cause people to rise up and governments to be overthrown but oppression still to remain.

Keywords:   rights of man, tree history, tree of liberty, social banditry, Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Spence, John Clare

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