Early Modern Liberalism

Annabel Patterson
November 1997

While the term “liberalism” was not applied to political thought or political parties in England until the late eighteenth century, the author argues that its central ideas were formulated by seventeenth-century English writers in defiance of their society’s norms, and then transmitted to the American colonies. In this study Annabel Patterson is particularly concerned with the means and agents of transmission, and with those who sought to ensure that the liberal canon would be preserved, dispersed and republished.