The Reports

Sir Edward Coke
J. Butterworth and Son

These volumes are Coke's project of documenting legal decisions on all points of the law and restating the reasoning and decision for future reference. The massive project had immense influence on the development of English and American legal systems.

Library Topic

More About This Topic...

Click thumbnails below to view links

Quote Page

A compendium of Anders Chydenius' works describing his views on economics. He is considered to be the "Adam Smith of the North."

Quotes from Charles Baron de Montesquieu, who had great influence in the formation of Enlightenment and modern political thought.

Quotes from John Trenchard, who condemned tyranny and advanced the principles of freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. His writings were the main vehicle for spreading the concepts that had been developed by John Locke.

Quotes from historian Paul Johnson.

Quotes from Thomas Gordon, who Thomas Gordon argued for the power and right of the people do judge their government.

Quotes from Thomas Hobbes, who argued that for people to escape the inconveniences of the state of nature, a social contract giving complete power to a sovereign is necessary.

A collection of wuotes describing Pre-American Revolution Political Thought.

Commentary or Blog Post

"The Finn Anders Chydenius was one of the most notable politicians of eighteenth century Sweden-Finland. He is most of all remembered as an outspoken defender of freedom of trade and industry, the 'Adam Smith of the North'."

This article discusses the contribution of Cato's Letters, calling them "the most popular, quotable, esteemed source of political ideas in the colonial period." It then includes quotes from the letters on the subjects of liberty and property.

This article reviews America's Theologian: A Recommendation of Jonathan Edwards, by Robert Jenson, and discusses Edwards' theological approach and context. The article then discusses the relevance of Edwards' (and Jenson's) ideas in modern American society.

This article, reviewing One Holy and Happy Society: The Public Theology of Jonathan Edwards by Gerald R. McDermott (see book section below), argues that the value of this book is in showing that "Edwards did in fact concern himself with politics, economics, and social issues."

"When Thomas Jefferson was asked to name the philosophical sources for the principles of the Declaration of Independence, he named the writings of [Algernon Sidney] as one of his primary guides."

McDermott suggests that Jonathan Edwards' philosophy might provide a starting point for an evangelical public theology, and notes five ideas from Edwards that would be relevant.

Analysis Report White Paper

The article explores Montesquieu's major works and his ideas on forms of government, liberty, the rule of law, and the impact of climate, commerce, and religion.

"William Blackstone was by any standard often a failure and the Commentaries were flawed. And yet this failed, flawed man contributed, sometimes in spite of himself, greatly to the Constitution, laws and leaders of the United States. For that, if nothing else, he was a success after all."

This entry on Montesquieu provides a biography of him and discusses his views on religion and the role of religion in public life. Montesquieu argued that faith is necessary to a stable society because "Something must be fixed and permanent, and religion is that something."

In this article, Fieser describes "Hume’s Place in Early Aesthetic, Political, and Economic Theory," provides a summary of the Essays, and an "Overview of the Early Responses" to them.

Overview of the life, political career, thought and writings of Francis Bacon, "one of the giant figures of intellectual history – and as brilliant, and flawed, a philosopher as he was a statesman."

Quesnay, in his work Tableau économique, attempted to provide a systematic description of a national economy. Based on this work, he argued for reducing taxes and simplifying regulations. His thought was an influence on Adam Smith's later work.

According to Williams, Hobbes' "vision of the world is strikingly original and still relevant to contemporary politics. His main concern is the problem of social and political order: how human beings can live together in peace and avoid the danger and fear of civil conflict.

Delaney provides an overview of Rousseau's controversial life and works: "Not only is he one of the most important figures in the history of political philosophy, later influencing Karl Marx among others, but his works were also championed by the leaders of the French Revolution."

This article covers Edwards' life and philosophy.

This article provides a "more detailed discussion of five central concepts in Locke's political philosophy, paying special attention to disputes over the interpretation and plausibility of Locke's arguments."

This article summarises the general drift of Locke’s political thinking, leaving the other IEP article on Locke to examine his general philosophy and his theory of knowledge.

In this chapter from his four-volume work Conceived in Liberty, Rothbard traces the growth of 18th century American libertarian thought through English and French influences.

This entry provides a brief overview of Jean Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract and illustrates the typical objections made to Rousseau's comments on religion.

This article covers Voltaire's life and philosophical views.


Rousseau wrote this essay to answer the question "What is the origin of inequality among men, and is it authorized by natural law?" He begins by envisioning a state of nature.

This lecture on Rousseau is part of the 10-lecture course The History of Political Philosophy: From Plato to Rothbard.

This lecture on John Locke is part of the 10-lecture course The History of Political Philosophy: From Plato to Rothbard.

This lecture on Hobbes is part of the 10-lecture course The History of Political Philosophy: From Plato to Rothbard.

"One of the leading liberal thinkers in 17th century England, Locke's ideas were drawn on heavily by Thomas Jefferson when writing the Declaration of Independence. The Second Treatise is Locke's most famous work."

Primary Document

In this later essay, Hobbes expounds on his concept of sovereignty. He examines the relationship between reason and law, and proposes a division of the functions of government.

In this essay, Locke argues for an end to religious persecution.

"Hume’s first major work of philosophy published in 1739 when he was just 29 yeas old. It is made up of three books entitled 'Of the Understanding', 'Of the Passions', and 'Of Morals'. In the book he uses his sceptical rationalism to create an ambitious 'science of man'."

The volume collects some of Francis' Bacon's political and historical writings to demonstrate his contributions to political philosophy.

In this book, Hobbes applies his theory to the English Civil War. Written as a series of dialogues, the work explains the war as resulting mostly from the stubborn and foolish actions of a few individuals.

Blackstone's work is considered the most authoritative statement of the pre-American Revolution common law. It influenced the American founding documents, and continues to be a persuasive legal authority in the United States and other common law jurisdictions.

"You are born to liberty, and it is in your interest and duty to preserve it," these essays argue. They were published in a British periodical from 1720 to 1723 and were later collected into a book which was one of the most popular of colonial America.

Algernon Sidney was convicted and executed for partaking in a plot against the king. In his execution speech, he points to the shakiness of the evidence.

When the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was created, a Polish leader asked two political thinkers to draft suggestions on a new constitution for Poland. This volume provides Rousseau's suggestions.

Here, Thomas Hobbes presents his political philosophy in detail. He divides this work into three parts. The first is titled "Libertas" (liberty), which deals with humanity's natural condition and Hobbes' theory of natural law.

Rousseau wrote this essay to answer the question "What is the origin of inequality among men, and is it authorized by natural law?" He begins by envisioning a state of nature.

In his first Discourse, Rousseau claims that the arts and sciences corrupt humans morally.

"Written in response to Sir Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha (1680), the Discourses Concerning Government is a classic defense of republicanism and popular government."

In this work, Rousseau outlines a strategy for educating the "natural man" he advocates in The Social Contract.

These essays present his view on various philosophical, political, economic, and social topics.

Sir Robert Filmer argues for the Divine right of kings, maintaining that the first kings were the fathers of families, with Adam as the first king. He therefore argues that kings possess natural power and rights over their nations, and that it is unnatural for the people to choose who will govern them.

This volume provides a sample of Bacon's other works, including his Essays.

This early work of Hobbes, originally titled The Elements of Law, consists of two parts. The first presents his theory of human nature. The second, "The Political Body," discusses forms of government and the extent of legitimate government authority.

This volume includes Basilicon Doron, plus other essays and speeches which expound those political views. These perspectives were influential at the time and provide the background to later events and developments

Hobbes argued that a state of nature (an environment without a government imposing order) would be "the war of all against all" and life in such an environment would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

The title of this work means "Law, King," illustrates the basic idea: the King is under the law. Rutherford argues against the Divine Right of Kings and instead proposes that there should be a covenant between the ruler and the people. This work may have influenced Locke.

Hobbes' work De Homine presents his view of human nature and his moral philosophy and De Cive, which presents his political philosophy (see description in article section above).

Coke advanced the proposition that the individual rights guaranteed by Magna Carta belonged to all, not just the nobles, and that laws contrary to those rights were invalid.

James Harrington's description of an utopian republic. In this work, he sets down an entire system of government from the very powerful to the very lowly.

This is a book version of Sir Edward Coke's key work on English common law (see description in articles section above). It contains the text of Sir Thomas de Littleton's Treatise on Tenures, a 15th century compilation of the English real estate law.

"Hume’s great History of England the theme of which is liberty, above all English constitutional development from the Anglo-Saxon period to the Revolution of 1688."

Anders Chydenius argued that the national economy cannot be planned or directed, and the greatest national gain will instead occur when people can pursue their own interests and choose their own livelihood.

In this work, Sir Francis Bacon describes a fictional ideal society, in which science is highly valued, slavery was abolished, debtors' prisons did not exist, freedom of religion and political expression were permitted, and so on.

These volumes are Coke's project of documenting legal decisions on all points of the law and restating the reasoning and decision for future reference.

Locke's Second Treatise develops his descriptions of the state of nature along with natural law. His work was extremely influential in the founding of America and its Constitution.

Rousseau is noted for advancing the idea of popular sovereignty. He opens with the question of whether any government authority can be legitimate, and concludes that the only legitimate government is one where "the laws being solely the authentic acts of the general will, the Sovereign cannot act save when the people is assembled."

Montesquieu was a significant advocate of separation of powers between executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and his discussion of law contributed significantly to the concept of rule of law.




Click thumbnails below to view links


In a highly regulated society such as ours, it's very easy to get yourself in trouble with the law. Learn more about how to protect yourself with the 5th Amendment and how to interact with the police.
The Association of American Educators (AAE) advances the teaching profession through personal growth, professional development, teacher advocacy and protection, as well as promoting excellence in education so that our members receive the respect, recognition and reward they deserve.