Priestley Political Writings

ISBN-10: 0521425611
ISBN-13: 9780521425612
Edition: 1993
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Description: Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) was arguably one of the most important and interesting English theorists to focus on the issue of political liberty during the English Enlightenment. His concept of freedom is of crucial importance to two of the major  More...

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Book details

List price: $34.99
Copyright year: 1993
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 6/3/1993
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 192
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.770
Language: English

Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) was arguably one of the most important and interesting English theorists to focus on the issue of political liberty during the English Enlightenment. His concept of freedom is of crucial importance to two of the major issues of his day: the right of dissenters to religious toleration, and the right of the American colonists to self-government. Despite the fundamental importance of both these themes in liberal political theory and their contemporary relevance to national self-determination, Priestley's writings lack a modern edition. This new collection will be the first to make accessible to students Priestleys' Essay on the First Principles and The Present State of Liberty, which encapsulate his political ideology. An introduction and notes, together with guides to further reading and key figures in the text provide the student with all the material necessary for approaching Priestley.

Born in Leeds, England, Joseph Priestley received an education for the dissenting ministry. However, throughout his life, his religious views were far more liberal than those of his fellows, and part of the time he earned his living as a schoolmaster, and later, as the librarian for Sir William Petty, the second Earl of Shelbourne. During those six years, Priestley systematically studied a variety of gases, including nitrogen oxides, ammonia, and oxygen. In 1774 he prepared and collected oxygen by heating mercuric oxide and collecting the gas over mercury. During separate experiments with mice and burning candles in closed systems, he noted that the "dephlogistonated air" or oxygen supported combustion and respiration better than air or nitrogen. Priestley was an amateur scientist; he focused much of his effort on the religious and political issues of late eighteenth-century England. During the Birmingham riots of 1791, he was a target of the mobs because of his liberal religious views. Finally, in 1794, he immigrated to the United States and for the last 10 years of his life lived in Northumberland, Pennsylvania.

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Chronology of Joseph Priestley�s life
Biographical guide
Bibliographical guide
Essay on the First Principles
The Present State of Liberty
Index

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