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By Gregory Claeys

Electorate and Saints is a accomplished learn of the profound rupture within the language of reform and revolution which happened with the increase of socialism. Focusing upon British Owenite socialism, Professor Claeys argues that faculties of political considering emerged from the 'social' critique of latest political radicalism. One, principally pointed out with Owenite perfectibilism, aimed to go beyond current types of democracy and to set up extra harmonious, much less divisive types of rule. the opposite, it appears extra democratic, aimed to increase renowned keep an eye on of political associations to fiscal enterprises. either have been sceptical of the 'political' analyses of socioeconomic deprivation proferred via present radicalism. Such scepticism used to be to end up the most important to either liberal and socialist political notion, and Professor Claeys exhibits that such perennial questions because the intrinsically democratic (or differently) nature of Marxist socialism can purely be understood by means of connection with the political and highbrow situations during which early socialist principles emerged.

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Extra info for Citizens and Saints: Politics and Anti-Politics in Early British Socialism

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Instead, political power was thought to reside naturally with the landed gentry and the most talented members of the aristocracy, who were believed to have the greatest stake in ruling for the common good. Their possession of landed property, it was assumed, helped to guarantee political independence and avoid the corruption of electors by the Crown. Monarchical usurpation was also to be prevented by prohibiting a standing army liable to misuse by conniving princes, and the provision of a citizens' militia.

Corruption', or the decline of virtue, was assumed to insinuate itself through a surfeit of luxury, a lack of concern about the common weal, or the increasing dependence of electors upon the Crown or the government upon fundholders who benefited from the national debt. Eternal vigilance was thus the price to be paid for the maintenance of virtue. 5 Identified in the 1690s with the 'Old', 'True' or 'Real' Whigs, republicanism split in the following century into a 'Country' group which had both radical Whig and Tory adherents, and a 'Court' party.

25 Such a view can be characterised as midway between republican patriotism and the more all-encompassing cosmopolitanism which emerged in early British socialism. This sense of conflict between the ethical demands of Christianity and a republican conception of public virtue exhibits some of the most important roots of the new approach to politics made by socialism. 26 Godwin's political thought represents an essential link in the development of a strand of Rational Dissent into socialism for one key reason: he extended these contradictions between Christian ethics and republicanism to their logical limits.

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