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The Commonwealth of Oceana

James Harrington
by

Joshua Maxwell

on 16 December 2014

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Transcript of The Commonwealth of Oceana

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

"no coercive power in the matter of religion to be exercised in this nation.."

A commonwealth has a strong belief in life, liberty, and the pursuit of justice, which is outlined directly in our Bill of Rights. One such liberty is the freedom of religion, stating that no congregation is to "be molested or interrupted in their way of worship."


How can you relate this document to our constitution?

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union..."

"the interest of the few is not the profit of mankind nor of a commonwealth..."

Both of these quotes establish a sense of unity between those who are being
governed, as the people as a whole
are being represented in
political decisions


Constitutional Influences
What philosophical points does Harrington make?
"no one man, or number of men...over-balance them, the empire is a commonwealth"
Strong air of democracy
Goal of white male suffrage
Governmental affairs decided by the people for the people
"such orders may be established, as may, nay must, give the upper hand in all cases to common right or interest"
Decisions are always made by a majority vote, and are made to follow the beliefs and thoughts of the common man
Philosophical Points
"And if the whole people be landlords, or hold the lands so divided among them that no one man, or number of men, within the compass of the few or aristocracy, overbalance them, the empire is a commonwealth."

What is described as commonwealth in our modern era?
Thesis
Born: January 6, 1611
Death: September 11, 1677
Attended Trinity College in Oxford, but dropped out after two years
His years in the court system served as an animus towards his writings
"The Commonwealth of Oceana" was his most influential and controversial writing
Presumed "simply mad" after use of the drug Guaiacum
Sent to the "Tower of London" for Conspiracy

James Harrington
James Harrington:
The Commonwealth of Oceana


Edgar Huntly Connections
In what ways can you connect this document to Brown's "Edgar Huntly?"

Edgar Huntly was written post-revolutionary, and explored the changing atmosphere of a new found independence.

Brown analyzes various problems that were still present after the American Revolution, such how Indians effected westward expansion.


In the preface of the novel, Brown states that he plays with the "new springs of action" of America's new found freedom, and sees his narrative as a reflection of prevalent issues of the time.

It is also stated that "It is the purpose of this work...to exhibit a series of adventures, growing out of the condition of our country."

All of these reasons behind the writing of Edgar Huntly are exhibited in Harrington's document.

Both understand the current problems of our country, and commentate on them with a hope of their amendment.
By: Kyle James Hastings, Joshua Maxwell, Samuel John Cruz
Full transcript