Week 2: The Law of Freedom, 1652

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    David Hitchcock
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    One of the most compelling and radical political programmes to emerge from the English Civil war was penned by the ‘proto-communist’ and radical Gerrard Winstanley, leader of the ‘Diggers’. His Utopia is, like More’s, Christian and aimed at the moral reformation of its inhabitants, but Winstanley actually attempted to put into social practice his ideas about the common ownership of property. Though the Digger communes at St George’s hill and Little Heath ended in failure, the Diggers entered culture and literature as a precocious example of ecocritical and agrarian communism put into attempted practice. Christopher Hill’s introduction to Winstanley remains the indispensable first text to read in addition to the Law.

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