George C. Comninel
Comninel Home Page
POLS 3020
Utopia, Power and

POLS 3025
A Century of Revolution

POLS 4090
Classical Marxist Thought


Recommended Bibliography
POLS 6030 / SPT 6101
Theory and Practice
of the State in Historical Perspective

Recommended Bibliography
Main Politics Website
POLS 3025 3.0A (W)

A Century of Revolution
Winter 2018 

Course Meetings:  Mon, Wed 1:00-2:30
                             DB 1005
Professor George C. Comninel 
Hours: Mon 12:00-1:00; Wed  12:00-1:00
Phone: 416-736-5265 
S646 Ross Bldg.

This course will offer an interdisciplinary approach to the development of English political thought in the seventeenth century, the "century of revolution." The course will begin with a consideration of the broad outlines of struggle between the Crown and Parliament, giving particular attention to the unique religious, social and economic developments that provided its specific historical context. We will then turn to the varieties of political thought engendered by this struggle, especially the explosion of radical social and political thought during the Civil War. These readings will include a transcript of the extraordinary debate over representative government held between officers and radical soldiers of the New Model Army at Putney Church in 1647. In the final part of the course we will consider the contributions of Hobbes and Locke to modern political thought, and the emergence of the liberal state, in light of both the issues and fears raised by having "the world turned upside down" and the broader context of fundamental social change. 

Course Assignments

2 essays (7-9 pages):    2 x 30%    = 60%
1 take home essay exam                = 30%
class participation                          = 10%

Required Reading

Ellen M Wood, The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View
Ellen M Wood, Liberty & Property
Christopher Hill, The Century of Revolution 1603-1714
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan 
John Locke, Two Treatises of Government  
David Wootton, Divine Right and Democracy

Many of the assigned readings are also available on this website (Readings)

Schedule of Lectures and Required Reading 

Jan 8

Jan 10/15
Capitalism and Society in 17th Century England

Wood, Origin: pp. 1-33; 73-198
Jan 17/22 Political and Religious Contention

Wood, Liberty & Property: 1-31, 211-24; Wootton, 22-38
Jan 24/29 From Parliamentary Conflict to Civil War

Hill, Century:  6-122
Jan 31/Feb 5
The Initial Conflict in Political Thought

King James VI & I; King Charles I; Petition of Right; Hunton, Treatise
Feb 7/12
Politicized Religion, Seditious Ideas, and Popular Revolt

Hill, Century:  139-164; Wood, Liberty & Property: 224-40
Feb 14
The Levellers:  Demanding Popular Representation

Lilburne; “Levellers Vindicated”; Walwyn; Sexby
Feb 19/21 -- READING WEEK--

Feb 26
Debate Over Political Representation

Putney Debate
Feb 28/Mar 5
True Levellers:  Freedom from Property and Sin

Winstanley: “New Yeer’s Gift”, “Declaration”, “Letter to Fairfax”
Mar 7/12 Hobbes

Wood, Liberty & Property: 240-56; Leviathan:  First Part
Mar 14/19 Hobbes (cont.)

Leviathan:  Second Part; Ch. 47; Review and Conclusion
Mar 21/26
Restoration, and Renewed Conflict

Hill, Century:  166-179, 191-223, 235-248; Filmer, Observations
Mar 28/Apr 2

Wood, Liberty & Property: 256-87; First Treatise:  Ch. I-VI;
Second Treatise
:  Ch. I-XIV
Apr 4

Hill, Century: 249-268