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political philosophy

The early modern era was a turbulent one. It saw the Thirty Years War on the Continent and the English Civil War. Furthermore, political institutions and intellectuals were still dealing with the fallout from the Reformation. Hence the vexed issue of the relation between church and state still needed to be resolved and this issue alone provided much impetus for the writing of political philosophy in the period.

The problem of toleration of people from other faiths became more pressing too as states were divided along Protestant and Catholic lines and as the opening up of the new world revealed new peoples and new religions. Indeed the waves of imperial expansion by the Spanish, Portugese, French and English brought with them the need to justify large scale 'repossession' of the property of others and the extension of territorial boundaries.

Early in the period the impact of Macciavelli and Hugo Grotius were pronounced. By the end of the period a form of Lockean liberalism had emerged as, arguably, the most important political philosophy.

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