"For the Land is Mine" is the title to Chapter 2 of Eric Nelson's book. I found it in a Word document from Brown University. There Dr. Nelson notes other scholars -- Philip Pettit of Princeton and Michael Sandel of Harvard -- who have also stressed the egalitarian nature of "republican" ideology (as contrasted with the individualistic nature of "liberalism").
I was recently reminded
that “few American Whigs in the 1770s saw any conflict between what
read in Locke and Montesquieu and what they read in the Bible." In fact
it's a feature of Whig thought that it served as a "unifying" ideology.
As Thomas Jefferson noted to Richard Henry Lee,
"All American whigs thought alike on these subjects." He did this while
sourcing Aristotle, Cicero, Locke and Sidney along with "harmonizing
sentiments of the day." Yes harmonizing was needed. The four named
sources didn't always agree with one another on all important matters of
Those of us who study Leo Strauss
often hear about the break between Aristotle (Ancient) and Locke
(Modern). Nelson focuses on the (arguable) break between Cicero and
Algernon Sidney. Cicero was one of the ancient Roman republicans. These
republicans, according to Dr. Nelson, "had accorded enormous respect to private property rights, and had exhibited a
particular horror of coercive attempts to redistribute wealth."
thing I stress is that the Ancient Hebrews didn't have a republic. They
had some kind of idealized theocracy, where, if you believe the tale,
God was directly in charge by virtue of direct interaction with man.
They eventually got a King which God warned against. The concept of
"republicanism" is entirely a creation of the ancient Greco-Roman
Nelson's figures CLAIMED that the Hebrews had a "republic." (This claim
would resonate with Thomas Paine and the American Founders). And in the
process of "revising" or at least "re-understanding" the biblical
record, they also broke with the ancient Roman position of Cicero which
looks more like something the promoters of laissez faire economics would
endorse (Milton Friedman, et al.).
the British republicans, notably James Harrington, but also others,
endorsed an equality of wealth holding that was if not proto-Marxist
(which would demand equality of holdings) but proto-Rawlsian (which
accepts in principle inequality of wealth, but sees a role for
government in redistributing wealth to provide for a more "just
Marx didn't invent radical economic egalitarianism. Neither did Jean
Jacques Rousseau. Thomas More, whom Dr. Nelson specifically names,
anticipated both of them (I won't discuss possible ancient sources for
the concept). On "Utopia"
both wealth and poverty were abolished. Though it's difficult to tell
whether that book's claims are meant to be taken seriously or as satire.
big difference between Marx and Rawls on the one hand and the earlier
economic levelers on the other is that the former attempted to make
either atheistic or secular arguments for their theories, the latter
rest their principles on religious claims.
those whose politics, at least on economic matters, are left of center
-- especially those of the "Religious Left" -- might find something of
interest and inspiration in the works of Dr. Nelson's British
republicans who greatly influenced America's Founders.