Monday, October 19, 2015

Milton's Political Context

    One of the things that one should keep in mind when studying Milton's life is the fact that he lived in world different from our own. Within the Anglosphere, we share a lot of things in common with Milton such as language, customs, and the idea that liberty is far better than tyranny.

    He wrote at length, as I wrote before, on controversial subjects that were pressing issues. But he, John Milton, did not write in a vacuum. No, there were statists (politicians), who shaped the affairs of the state, which was under dispute during the civil wars between the kingdoms.

    One such man, Oliver Cromwell, came to power after the void left by the execution of Charles I in 1649. He disputed with parliament; he was tried for treason. And after that horrible event, the Army came to power with Cromwell eventually becoming the Lord Protector in place of the king.

    Cromwell, being a military man, had learned tactics on the battlefield without having formal training in that subject. He was able to soundly defeat the Royalist forces that fought against him. During the war, Milton focused his attention to these matters while writing politically in prose.

    And after that brief period of non-monarchical rule, Charles II came out of hiding to take the crown in 1660. With this shifting political climate, Milton worked under leaders who sought to rule without a king much like what he wrote about in his tracts. They shared his political views.

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