The Commonwealth of Oceana

The Commonwealth Of Oceana

The Commonwealth of Oceana

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The Commonwealth of Oceana, published 1656, is a composition of political philosophy written by the English politician and essayist, James Harrington (1611–1677). When first attempted to be published, it was officially censored by Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658). It was eventually published, with a dedication to Cromwell."...to his highnes the Lord Protector of the Comonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland." ; Pocock, "Intro," p. 6, note 1. on Harrington as a classical republican, he was "England's premier civic humanist and Machiavellian. He was not the first to think about English politics in these terms..., but he was the first to achieve a paradigmatic restatement of English political understanding in the language and world-view inherited through Machiavelli." Pocock, "Intro," p. 15.

Harrington's magnum opus, Oceana is an exposition on an ideal constitution, designed to allow for the existence of a utopian republic. Oceana was read contemporaneously as a metaphor for interregnum England, with its beneficent lawgiver Olphaus Megaletor representing Cromwell. The details of this ideal governing document are set out, from the rights of the state to the salaries of low officials. Its strategies were not implemented at the time.

The first constituent in Harrington's theoretical argument states that the determining element of power in a state is property, particularly property in...
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