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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
February 2023
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Book description

The writings of republican historian and political pamphleteer Catharine Macaulay (1731–91) played a central role in debates about political reform in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution. A critical reader of Hume's bestselling History of England, she broke new ground in historiography by defending the regicide of Charles I and became an inspiration for many luminaries of the American and French revolutions. While her historical and political works engaged with thinkers from Hobbes and Locke to Bolingbroke and Burke, she also wrote about religion, philosophy, education and animal rights. Influencing Wollstonecraft and proto-feminism, she argued that there were no moral differences between men and women and that boys and girls should receive the same education. This book is the first scholarly edition of Catharine Macaulay's published writings and includes all her known pamphlets along with extensive selections from her longer historical and political works.


'Skjönsberg’s welcome edition of the Political writings is the first modern version of Macaulay’s work. It has the potential to stimulate more research on Macaulay and to make her more teachable, thereby returning her to her rightful place in the history of political thought. The book is historically rich, meticulously selected and carefully introduced to the reader. It will be a valuable tool for both new and long-time students of Macaulay. Given her extensive oeuvre, Skjönsberg’s process of editorial selection is highly impressive.'

Geertje Bol Source: Times Literary Supplement

‘Max Skjönsberg has situated the work of Catharine Macaulay within a significantly remapped domain of political thought, broadened not only to rectify the exclusion of women, but also … to include a critic of ‘revolution principles’ whose métier was primarily historical not philosophical.’

Source: London Review of Books

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