Discourses Concerning Government


Category: Liberty & Dignity/Politics

By Algernon Sidney

Published in 1698

Reference #0315

First Edition. Algernon Sidney’s “Discourses Concerning Government” was published from an original manuscript of the author written between 1680 and 1683. It was not published until 1698, after Sidney was executed in 1683 for his involvement in the Rye House Plot with his papers including the “Discourses,” being used against him.

“Discourses” was written as a response to “Patriarcha” by Robert Filmer, who defended the divine right of the monarchy. Sidney thought absolute monarchy was a political evil and opposed the Divine Rights of Kings because people were often persecuted and imprisoned under the system.

Sidney believed individuals had the right to govern themselves and choose their rulers as the government power should come from the people. While Sidney lost his life for his beliefs, his words still ring true to the thoughts of liberty. “Discourses” is considered one of the intellectual foundations of the Declaration of Independence.