Arbitrary Rule: Slavery, Tyranny, And The Power Of Life And Death

Paperback | February 24, 2015

byMary Nyquist

not yet rated|write a review
Slavery appears as a figurative construct during the English revolution of the mid-seventeenth century, and again in the American and French revolutions, when radicals represent their treatment as a form of political slavery. What, if anything, does figurative, political slavery have to do with transatlantic slavery? In Arbitrary Rule, Mary Nyquist explores connections between political and chattel slavery by excavating the tradition of Western political thought that justifies actively opposing tyranny. She argues that as powerful rhetorical and conceptual constructs, Greco-Roman political liberty and slavery reemerge at the time of early modern Eurocolonial expansion; they help to create racialized “free” national identities and their “unfree” counterparts in non-European nations represented as inhabiting an earlier, privative age.
               
Arbitrary Rule is the first book to tackle political slavery’s discursive complexity, engaging Eurocolonialism, political philosophy, and literary studies, areas of study too often kept apart. Nyquist proceeds through analyses not only of texts that are canonical in political thought—by Aristotle, Cicero, Hobbes, and Locke—but also of literary works by Euripides, Buchanan, Vondel, Montaigne, and Milton, together with a variety of colonialist and political writings, with special emphasis on tracts written during the English revolution. She illustrates how “antityranny discourse,” which originated in democratic Athens, was adopted by republican Rome, and revived in early modern Western Europe, provided members of a “free” community with a means of protesting a threatened reduction of privileges or of consolidating a collective, political identity. Its semantic complexity, however, also enabled it to legitimize racialized enslavement and imperial expansion.
               
Throughout, Nyquist demonstrates how principles relating to political slavery and tyranny are bound up with a Roman jurisprudential doctrine that sanctions the power of life and death held by the slaveholder over slaves and, by extension, the state, its representatives, or its laws over its citizenry.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$37.04

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Slavery appears as a figurative construct during the English revolution of the mid-seventeenth century, and again in the American and French revolutions, when radicals represent their treatment as a form of political slavery. What, if anything, does figurative, political slavery have to do with transatlantic slavery? In Arbitrary Rule,...

Mary Nyquist is professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Toronto.

other books by Mary Nyquist

Format:PaperbackDimensions:435 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:February 24, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022627179X

ISBN - 13:9780226271798

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Arbitrary Rule: Slavery, Tyranny, And The Power Of Life And Death

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Citations
Introduction

Chapter 1. Ancient Greek and Roman Slaveries
   Political Slavery and Barbarism
   Tyranny, Slavery, and the Despotēs
   The Tyrant as Conqueror and Antityranny
   Tyranny, Despotical Rule, and Natural Slavery in Aristotle’s Politics
   Roman Antityranny
   Appropriation and Disavowal of Slavery

Chapter 2. Sixteenth-Century French and English Resistance Theory
   Servility and Tyranny in Montaigne and La Boétie, Goodman and Ponet
   Spanish Tyranny, English Resistance
   Collective Enslavement and Freedom in Vindiciae
   Slavery in Smith’s De Republica Anglorum and Bodin’s République
   Resistance

Chapter 3. Human Sacrifice, Barbarism, and Buchanan’s Jephtha
   Barbarism, Sacrifice, and Civic Virtue
   Calvin, Cicero, and Wrongful Vows
   Does Jephtha Hold the Sword?
   Blood(less) Sacrifice

Chapter 4. Antityranny, Slavery, and Revolution
   Genesis, Dominion, and Natural Slavery
   Servility, Tyranny, and Asiatic Monarchy in 1 Samuel 8
   Genesis, Dominion, and Servitude in “Paradise Lost”
   Ears Bored with an Awl in Revolutionary England
   Revolution and Liberty Cap

Chapter 5. Freeborn Sons or Slaves?
   Debating Analogically
   Freeborn Citizens and Contract
   Fathers and Resistance
   Antislavery and Bodin’s Preemption of Antityranny
   Parker’s Antityranny and Antislavery

Chapter 6. The Power of Life and Death
   Brutus and His Sons: Lawful Punishment or Paternal Power?
   Debating the Familial Origins of the Power of Life and Death
   Debating Divine Sanction for the Power and Life and Death
   Power, No-Power, and the English Revolution
   Etymology as Ideology: Servire from Servare, or Enslaving as Saving

Chapter 7. Nakedness, History, and Bare Life
   Nakedness
   Nationalization of Natural Slavery and Original Sin
   De Bry’s Europeanized Adam and Eve
   Privative Comparison in Paradise Lost 

Chapter 8. Hobbes’s State of Nature and “Hard” Privativism
   The Golden-Edenic Privative Age
   Cicero’s Savage Age
   Savagery and the Euro-Colonial Privative Age 
   Ancestral Liberties, Inherited Freedom
   Hobbes’s State of Nature and Libertas
   Frontispieces

Chapter 9. Hobbes, Slavery, and Despotical Rule
   Liberty, Slavery, and Tyranny Discomfited
   Preservation of Life, Civility, and Servitude
   Hobbes’s Female-Free Family
   Servants and Slaves

Chapter 10. Locke’s “On Slavery,” Despotical Power, and Tyranny
   Antityranny, Not Antidespotism
   Hobbes, Locke, and the Power of Life and Death
   Reading “Of Slavery”
   Reading Locke Rewriting Power/No-Power
   Hebrew and Chattel Slavery
   Slaves and Tyrants 
 
Epilogue
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Mary Nyquist has achieved a famous first: a mature, dispassionate examination of the discourse of ‘antityrannicism’ as exemplified in writings of both a theoretical and a literary nature ranging from Aristotle through Cicero, Buchanan, and Montaigne, to Milton, Hobbes, and Locke. Through her highly intelligent readings of authors with their own very different, indeed sometimes radically opposed, agendas, she shows brilliantly how the antityrannicism discourse could be deployed to sharpen the audience’s perception of the threat posed by tyranny to the privileges and dignity of a free community. As she rightly emphasizes, the interpretative challenges posed by ‘slavery’ used as a figure for distinctively political oppression have rarely been critically faced—she not only faces up to them but faces them down.”