The political thought of Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun (1653-1716)
Title: The political thought of Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun (1653-1716)
Author: LISTA, Giovanni
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2018
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
The purpose of this thesis is twofold. On the one hand, it attempts to achieve a proper contextualisation of the works of the Scottish patriot Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun (1653-1712), drawing on but going beyond the studies of pure intellectual historians and focusing on Fletcher’s political stances. In this sense, his pamphlets are considered in chronological order and singularly in their most immediate context, that is the concrete issues they addressed, following the trajectory of their reception and the way they managed to modify the ongoing debates in relation to their practical aims. What emerges is the figure of a political activist rather than a systematic thinker, whose brilliant intuitions also belonged to the realm of concrete proposals rather than to utopian speculation only. On the other, the following dissertation bridges a gap in current historiography, constituting a first comprehensive and modern monograph on Fletcher. The introductory chapter indulges on his life, including some new sources and a specific section on his personal library. Chapter two focuses on the militia debate, exploring the distinctive radicality of Fletcher’s interventions, meant for an English and a Scottish audience. The third chapter deals with the economic reforms Fletcher designed for Scotland, reading them as an expression of English political arithmetic and a viable programme. The following chapter revolves around the intertwined ideas of reason of State and commerce, which Fletcher addressed in his Italian pamphlet on the Spanish succession crisis. The following section reconstructs the usage of the natural law theories in the debate about the Darien colony and Fletcher’s attack on the rise of factions in the English parliament. The closing chapter explores Fletcher’s role in the Union debates, looking at the reception of his parliamentary proposals and at the practical aims his last attributed publication tried to attain.
Defence date: 27 March 2018; Examining Board: Prof. Martin van Gelderen, European University Institute; Prof. Ann Thomson, European University Institute; Prof. Brian Young, University of Oxford; Prof. Charles-Édouard Levillain, Université Paris Diderot
Type of Access: embargoedAccess