Catharine Macaulay's "Loose Remarks" on Hobbesian politics



  • Revisions of the canon of political philosophy by feminist theorists such as Susan Moller Okin, Carole Pateman, and Nancy Hirschmann have drawn attention to a paradox in the political thought of Thomas Hobbes: while Hobbes rejected paternal power in his challenge to the theory of the divine right of kings, he promoted patriarchy in forming a social compact that excluded women from political subjectivity. Yet there was a much earlier challenge to Hobbesian patriarchal politics found in a pamphlet by eighteenth-century England's most famous female historian, Catharine Macaulay. Loose Remarks on Certain Positions to Be Found in Mr. Hobbes's "Philosophical Rudiments of Government and Society" with a Short Sketch of a Democratical Form of Government in a Letter to Signior Paoli (hereafter, Loose Remarks) was published in London in 1769. By this time, Macaulay had already published, to great acclaim, four of eight volumes of the History of England from the Accession of James I to That of the Brunswick Line. Her account of Stuart politics, the Civil War, and the Glorious Revolution became a best-selling Whig interpretation of seventeenth-century English politics. Macaulay's volumes competed with David Hume's rival Tory account History of England from Julius Caesar to the Glorious Revolution. Her international audience included George Washington, John Adams, and the Comte de Mirabeau.
  • International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13

  • 9780271056357
  • Start Page

  • 190
  • End Page

  • 215
  • Volume

  • 9780271061306