In the Reformation, Protestants repeatedly changed the world—including by arguing that kings were no longer sacred. To be of any use, they must serve the people.

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Anthony Comegna

Anthony Comegna received his M.A. (2012) and Ph.D. (2016) in history from the University of Pittsburgh, where he specialized in early American, intellectual, and Atlantic history. His dissertation, “The Dupes of Hope Forever:” The Loco‐​Foco or Equal Rights Movement, 1820s‐​1870s, revives the submerged and forgotten legacy of locofocoism. Anthony has taught undergraduate courses in American history and Western Civilization. He produces regular historical content for Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org and is the writer/​host of Liberty Chronicles. He currently works at the Institute for Humane Studies as the Academic Programs Design Manager.

 

John Ponet (ca. 1514–1556) was the Anglican Bishop of Winchester at a raucous and revolutionary time in English history. King Henry VIII had recently inaugurated the English Reformation and established the Anglican Church, staffed in part at least with emerging radicals like Ponet. When the Catholic Queen Mary I determined to roll back Protestantism, Ponet and hundreds of others fled to Europe. During his exile, Ponet wrote a Short Treatise on Political Power (1556), which argued that the people can and should punish—perhaps even execute— wicked monarchs. Ponet’s tract anticipated great liberal thinkers for centuries to come. By 1776, the Short Treatise rested (well‐​worn) on many Patriots’ bookshelves.