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Two Treatises of Government: Demoting Adam

by John Locke in 1689

To begin our series on the book that practically made modern political philosophy, we join Locke in demoting Adam from global dictator to mere father.

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The Baker Oration: A Hungry Idol

by Frances Whipple on Mar 5, 1862

Whipple ends her feat of mediumship by chastising her audience for holding up a mere piece of paper as an idol worthy of thoughtless devotion.

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Progress, Guaranteed

by Condorcet in 1795

Condorcet ends his greatest work with the confident assertion that progress cannot be stopped.

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The Unlimited Tenth Epoch

by Condorcet in 1795

Though our author wrote in hiding from a terroristic regime, his saw unlimited potential for human accomplishment.

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The Highs and Lows of Enlightenment

by Condorcet in 1795

Like many of us, Condorcet got a bit carried away with praise for the Enlightenment. Unlike many of us, he tempered it with a dose of realism.

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Luther v. Borden: America, R.I.P.

by United States Supreme Court in 1849

Justice Woodbury concludes his dissent by arguing that the states cannot usurp Congress’s power to declare war in order to prevent political change.

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Luther v. Borden: Limiting Martial Law

by United States Supreme Court in 1849

Woodbury argues that the Dorr “War” presented no real threat to the Charter government and their declaration of martial law was made in error.

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Luther v. Borden: Political Questions

by United States Supreme Court in 1849

In his dissent from Taney’s opinion, Justice Woodbury began by agreeing that the Dorr War was a political matter best left out of the courts.

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Luther v. Borden: Republicanism on Trial

by United States Supreme Court in 1849

In 1849, the US Supreme Court decided that might makes right—The only legitimate institutions are those with enough power to defend themselves.

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Modern Philosophy, Modern Liberty

by Condorcet in 1795

Rounding out his history of the Early Modern period, Condorcet explains the linkages between philosophy and politics on both ends of the Atlantic.