Charlemagne, Common Sense, and Chartism: how Robert Blakey wrote his History of Political Literature

Stuart Mathieson

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Abstract

This article examines the life and works of Robert Blakey, author of the first English-language history of political thought. Studies of Blakey have typically concentrated on one aspect of his life, whether as an authority on field sports or as an historian of philosophy. However, some of Blakey’s lesser-known ventures, particularly his early Radical politics, his hagiographies, and his attempts to write a biography of Charlemagne, heavily influenced his more famous works. Similarly, Blakey’s upbringing in a Calvinist tradition, rooted in the Scottish School of Common Sense philosophy helps makes sense of his philosophical and theological commitments, yet has been largely ignored. This article provides a sketch of Blakey’s life, tying these disparate strands together, and explaining their influence upon, and relevance to, the first history of political philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalHistory of European Ideas
Early online date29 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 29 Mar 2019

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