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date: 27 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The literary canon of the mid-seventeenth century has always included works of argument in various spheres—religious, political, philosophical, and juridical—that make up the polemic of the civil wars and the experiment with non-monarchical government that followed. This very large body of usually printed literature was often in the form of a legal plea. One area in which law was reconceived in the name of the common people and exemplified in public and courtroom protest, on the printed page and in the internal politics of the New Model Army, was the Leveller movement, most famously exemplified in the career and expression of John Lilburne. The broader impact of Leveller revisions to legal understanding is exemplified in the activities of the 1650s popular republican and Restoration law publisher John Streater.

Keywords: free-born, birthrights, Leveller, republicanism, pamphlets, print culture, natural law, rhetoric, consent, equity

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