Prophets, Priests, and Kings of Liberty: John Milton and the Reformation of Rights and Liberties in England

78 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2011 Last revised: 14 Dec 2015

John Witte Jr.

Emory University School of Law

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

The seventeenth-century English Revolution was pulsing with new democratic ideas of civil rights, marital freedom, freedom of speech and press, religious liberty, separation of church-state, and disestablishment of religion. The English philosopher and poet, John Milton was among the most radical and articulate advocate of these ideas, which he set out in hundreds of pages of brilliant and trenchant prose. This Article offers a full account of Milton’s reformist agenda and uncovers some of the genesis and genius of his ideas in earlier Christian and classical traditions. It also documents the enduring significance of Milton’s ideas for later Anglo-American writers like John Locke, and later common law and constitutional reforms on both sides of the Atlantic.

Keywords: John Milton; Family Law; Marriage; Divorce; Religious Liberty; Liberty of Conscience; Free Exercise of Religion; Equality; Separation of Church and State; Disestablishment of Religion; Freedom of Speech; Freedom of Press; Censorship; Licensing; Civil Rights; Voting Rights;Anglicanism;Presbyterianism

Suggested Citation

Witte, John, Prophets, Priests, and Kings of Liberty: John Milton and the Reformation of Rights and Liberties in England (2008). Emory Law Journal, Vol. 57, p. 1528, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1797799

John Witte Jr. (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-6980 (Phone)
404-712-8605 (Fax)

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