Changes of State: Nature and the Limits of the City in Early Modern Natural Law

Changes of State: Nature and the Limits of the City in Early Modern Natural Law

by Annabel S. Brett
     
 

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This is a book about the theory of the city or commonwealth, what would come to be called the state, in early modern natural law discourse. Annabel Brett takes a fresh approach by looking at this political entity from the perspective of its boundaries and those who crossed them. She begins with a classic debate from the Spanish sixteenth century over the political

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Overview

This is a book about the theory of the city or commonwealth, what would come to be called the state, in early modern natural law discourse. Annabel Brett takes a fresh approach by looking at this political entity from the perspective of its boundaries and those who crossed them. She begins with a classic debate from the Spanish sixteenth century over the political treatment of mendicants, showing how cosmopolitan ideals of porous boundaries could simultaneously justify the freedoms of itinerant beggars and the activities of European colonists in the Indies. She goes on to examine the boundaries of the state in multiple senses, including the fundamental barrier between human beings and animals and the limits of the state in the face of the natural lives of its subjects, as well as territorial frontiers. Drawing on a wide range of authors, Brett reveals how early modern political space was constructed from a complex dynamic of inclusion and exclusion. Throughout, she shows that early modern debates about political boundaries displayed unheralded creativity and virtuosity but were nevertheless vulnerable to innumerable paradoxes, contradictions, and loose ends.

Changes of State is a major work of intellectual history that resonates with modern debates about globalization and the transformation of the nation-state.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Annabel S. Brett has amassed a great deal of information and delivers it and, as importantly, original insights of great value, with elegance, impressively, memorably. . . . Highly recommended. What the Renaissance coped with in terms of balance between tradition and modernity, between mankind and nature, between freedom and order . . . and a new relationship between God and His creation, proves a worthy topic for an exceptionally talented scholar and a good read for the rest of us."--Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance

"The book's achievements are at several levels: as an impressively detailed intellectual history of some of the wide-ranging controversies preoccupying natural law theorists in sixteenth- to mid-seventeenth-century Europe; as a cogent analysis of what is at stake in Grotius's and above all Hobbes's significant developments of natural law theory; and as an innovative approach to the study of political thought."--Simon Kow, Canadian Journal of History

Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance

Annabel S. Brett has amassed a great deal of information and delivers it and, as importantly, original insights of great value, with elegance, impressively, memorably. . . . Highly recommended. What the Renaissance coped with in terms of balance between tradition and modernity, between mankind and nature, between freedom and order . . . and a new relationship between God and His creation, proves a worthy topic for an exceptionally talented scholar and a good read for the rest of us.
Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance
Annabel S. Brett has amassed a great deal of information and delivers it and, as importantly, original insights of great value, with elegance, impressively, memorably. . . . Highly recommended. What the Renaissance coped with in terms of balance between tradition and modernity, between mankind and nature, between freedom and order . . . and a new relationship between God and His creation, proves a worthy topic for an exceptionally talented scholar and a good read for the rest of us.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691162416
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
05/04/2014
Edition description:
New in Paper
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author


Annabel S. Brett is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. She is the author of Liberty, Right, and Nature and a new translation of Marsilius of Padua's Defender of the Peace.

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