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A Fragment On Government
by Jeremy Bentham
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Originally prepared as a part of Bentham's Collected Works, this volume now makes one of the central texts in the development of utilitarian tradition available in its own authoritative 1977 edition.
Bentham, Jeremy. A Fragment on Government. Edited with an Introduction by F.C. Montague. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1891. xii, 241 pp. Reprinted 2001 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN 1-58477-166-6. Cloth. $65. Bentham's first published work, an essay on sovereignty that criticizes Blackstone's Commentaries and attacks contemporary views on politics and law. This edition includes F.C. Montague's scholarly introduction that shows the significance of the Fragment and includes a biography of Bentham [1748-1832] and a discussion of his role in the history of jurisprudence. "The Fragment on Government is primarily a criticism. If it were nothing more, it would have no interest for later generations, which do not regard Blackstone as an authority upon speculative questions of politics or history, and therefore do not need to have Blackstone's theories corrected or disproved. But in criticizing Blackstone's views, Bentham necessarily expounds his own. As Bentham is one of the few English writers of mark upon the theory of political institutions, and as his doctrine forms a link in the chain of English political philosophy, we still read the Fragment of Government in order to see, not how far Blackstone was wrong, but how far Bentham was right." Introduction 59.
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