The political thought of John Brown: religion, reform and international relations

Yigit, Pervin (2014) The political thought of John Brown: religion, reform and international relations. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

John Brown (1715-1766) has been portrayed by historians for generations as the
archetypal Jeremiah. Depressed about the state of his country, he predicted the collapse
of Britain in foreign war or by national bankruptcy. The main negative argument of the
An Estimate of the Manners and the Principles of the Times (1757) was that effeminacy
and luxury sprang from vast wealth and trade and would soon ruin the nation. In this
thesis I contend that this idea does not capture the essence of Brown. John Brown‘s
fascinated contemporaries not only because it was a cynical attack on contemporary
commercial society. Actually, the Estimate is worthy of attention because Brown was a
reformer of a particular kind. The central argument of this thesis is that in order to
explore the Estimate as more than a political worry, as in fact a complicated and
positive reform strategy, great attention needs to be paid to his politics and philosophy.
None of the studies on Brown have taken his politics sufficiently seriously as a
contribution to the reform philosophies of his time. This thesis is the first detailed study
of the Estimate, its origins, arguments, reception and defence. The analysis of the
Estimate can cast more light on the understanding of reform strategies during the
enlightenment era and also their limits. This thesis indicates that Brown was less radical
and more constructive than studies to date have imagined. In this thesis the extent of the
impact of Brown‘s claims is measured, and the manner by which Brown‘s work served
to highlight contrasting reform philosophies is emphasised. Therefore the aim of the
thesis is to show the full extent of the reform plan Brown envisaged, unifying the moral,
religious and political aspects of his thought.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state > JC131 Modern state > JC171 By period. 18th century. General works
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2014 15:37
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2015 14:59
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/51576

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