John Milton – “The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates”

So now a writer from the opposite end of the political spectrum to Robert Filmer – John Milton. People who want to succumb to tyranny are vicious, he argues, and tyrants will always prefer bad men, who are naturally servile, than honest men. Some of these bad men may even join for some time good ones, when it is financially profitable for them, but will hesitate to remove the cause of tyranny, notwithstanding the fact that the tyrant in reversed circumstances would not hesitate to kill them. So off with Charles’s head! He does not write that explicitly, but that’s his general drift. In the second excerpt  The second excerpt is Milton’s theory of government: man was born free, but because of Adam’s fall we cannot do as we please, so the need for the government, either that of a king or magistrates arose. They in turn, being also fallible men, had to be bound by laws and oaths they took to upkeep the laws, and if the king or the magistrate is unfaithful to the laws, the people are entitled not to obey him anymore.


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