The Downfall of All Slavish Hierarchies: Richard Price on Emancipation, Improvement, and Republican Utopia

Yiftah Elazar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Scholars have been paying increasing attention to the republican theory of liberty developed by the eighteenth-century British radical Richard Price. This article studies his narrative of a revolution of liberty, which consists in the downfall of oppressive powers, the establishment of republican institutions, and the introduction of a utopian age. In distinction from work that has focused on the millennial aspects of Price's narrative of emancipation, I highlight its political contexts and functions, situating its early development in utopian speculations about agrarian equality and population, demonstrating how the American Revolution had transformed it into a rallying cry for revolutionaries, and reconstructing its role as a source of politically mobilizing hope. This study differs from much of the scholarship on Price in looking beyond the Anglo-American context and presenting his work as part of a European conversation on the prospects of republican utopia, a conversation whose participants included Rousseau, Turgot, Mirabeau, and Condorcet.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)81-104
Number of pages24
JournalModern Intellectual History
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2020.

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