Godwin, William (1756-1836) - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 13┬ápages of information about Godwin, William (1756–1836).
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Anarchism

Types of Society

Before Godwin, Baron de Montesquieu (and indeed Plato) had already maintained that each type of government developed not only its own characteristic type of institution, but also its own characteristic attitudes and value judgments within the minds of its citizens. Montesquieu distinguished three main types of government, each with its own characteristic "spirit": despotism, whose spirit is fear; monarchy (the aristocratic semifeudal type of society still current in most of eighteenth-century Europe), whose spirit is honor; and the republic (which for Montesquieu suggested Sparta, oddly idealized in the eighteenth century, as much as the actual contemporary example), whose spirit is virtue, used not quite in its modern sense but rather to mean public-spiritedness.

Where Godwin differed from the modern anthropologist and, to some extent at least, from Montesquieu, was that he saw all three types of society as corrupting their citizens—even...

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This section contains 3,776 words
(approx. 13 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Godwin, William (1756-1836) Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Godwin, William (1756-1836) from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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