The Natural Power of Kings
Sir Robert Filmer
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Sir Robert Filmer (1588 – 26 May 1653) was an English political theorist living at a time shortly after the English had cast off the Catholic Church and established the Church of England, leading to fighting among Protestants and Catholics within their own kingdom. At the same time, English nobility and peasantry were tiring of the absolute rule of their sovereign monarchs, marking a period of time when the Parliament began working on passing acts that limited the king’s absolute rule. Filmer, a devoutly religious man, defended the ability of the monarch to rule absolutely under the theory that the monarch was Divinely chosen.
Filmer’s best known work is Patriarcha, published posthumously in 1680. Filmer's theory is founded upon the statement that the government of a family by the father is the true origin and model of all government, based on the Book of Genesis and the authority God gave to Adam, who had complete control over his descendants, even over life and death itself. Filmer simply ignored inconsistencies in his theory. For example, the difficulty inherent in judging the validity of claims to power by men who claim to be acting upon the 'secret' will of God was disregarded by Filmer, who also disregarded the fact that so often in English history, the first born son did not end up inheriting the throne. 9 years after the publication of Patriarcha, an English Revolution was busy expelling the Stuarts from the throne. John Locke himself singled out Filmer among the advocates of Divine Right and attacked him expressly in the first part of the Two Treatises of Government.
This edition of Patriarcha is specially formatted with a Table of Contents.