Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Neo-Roman Liberty in the English Revolution

Public Lecture by Quentin Skinner (QMUL)

Date: 24 May 2017
Time: 16:15 hrs. – 17:15 hrs.
Location: Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Korte Spinhuissteeg 3, 1012 CG, Amsterdam

Quentin Skinner will deliver the keynote at the Workshop Freedom: Liberalism, Republicanism and Beyond. This workshop is organized by the Amsterdam Centre for Political Thought in honour of the 20th anniversary of the publication of Professor Skinner’s seminal work Liberty Before Liberalism. The lecture is free and open to the public; registration is required. Seats are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. To register, please send an email to


The lecture begins by tracing the emergence of a neo-Roman way of thinking about individual and civic liberty as one of the leading vocabularies of opposition in pre-revolutionary England. It is then argued that, once the centrality of this understanding of what it means to be a free person is recognised, it becomes possible to suggest some fresh answers to three major questions about the revolutionary decade of the 1640s. Why did England slide into civil war in the summer of 1642? What was at stake in the Leveller debates about the franchise in 1647? And how was the rule of the Commonwealth government legitimised after the abolition of the monarchy in 1649?

About the speaker

Quentin Skinner is the Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities at Queen Mary, University of London. One of the world’s leading intellectual historians, he is author of The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, Visions of Politics, and Liberty Before Liberalism.