The Political Thought of Thomas Spence

The Political Thought of Thomas Spence Beyond Poverty and Empire - Ideas Beyond Borders

Paperback (31 May 2023)

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Publisher's Synopsis

The book is an intellectual analysis of the political ideas of English radical thinker Thomas Spence (1750-1814), who was renowned for his "Plan", a proposal for the abolition of private landownership and the replacement of state institutions with a decentralized parochial organization. This system would be realized by means of the revolution of the "swinish multitude", the poor labouring class despised by Edmund Burke and adopted by Spence as his privileged political interlocutor. While he has long been considered an eccentric and anachronistic figure, the book sets out to demonstrate that Spence was a deeply original, thoroughly modern thinker, who translated his themes into a popular language addressing the multitude and publicized his Plan through chapbooks, tokens, and songs. The book is therefore a history of Spence's political thought "from below", designed to decode the subtle complexity of his Plan. It also shows that the Plan featured an excoriating critique of colonialism and slavery as well as a project of global emancipation. By virtue of its transnational scope, the Plan made landfall in the British West Indies a few years after Spence's death. Indeed, Spencean ideas were intellectually implicated in the largest slave revolt in the history of Barbados.

About the Publisher



Routledge is the world's leading academic publisher in the Humanities and Social Sciences. We publish thousands of books and journals each year, serving scholars, instructors, and professional communities worldwide. Our current publishing programme encompasses groundbreaking textbooks and premier, peer-reviewed research in the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Built Environment. We have partnered with many of the most influential societies and academic bodies to publish their journals and book series. Readers can access tens of thousands of print and e-books from our extensive catalogue of titles. Routledge is a member of Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.

Book information

ISBN: 9781032062983
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Imprint: Routledge
Pub date:
DEWEY: 335.0092
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: 274
Weight: 418g
Height: 229mm
Width: 154mm
Spine width: 19mm