A Fragment on Government

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The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., 2001 - History - 241 pages
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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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Contents

II
1
III
14
IV
21
V
58
VI
91
VII
93
VIII
127
IX
131
X
164
XI
182
XII
200
XIII
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XIV
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About the author (2001)

Jeremy Bentham was born in London, on February 15, 1748, the son of an attorney. He was admitted to Queen's College, Oxford, at age 12 and graduated in 1763. He had his master's degree by 1766 and passed the bar exam in 1769. An English reformer and political philosopher, Bentham spent his life supporting countless social and political reform measures and trying as well to create a science of human behavior. He advocated a utopian welfare state and designed model cities, prisons, schools, and so on, to achieve that goal. He defined his goal as the objective study and measurement of passions and feelings, pleasures and pains, will and action. The principle of "the greatest happiness of the greatest number," set forth in his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, governed all of his schemes for the improvement of society, and the philosophy he devised, called utilitarianism, set a model for all subsequent reforms based on scientific principles. Bentham also spoke about complete equality between the sexes, law reform, separation of church and state, the abolition of slavery, and animal rights. Bentham died on June 6, 1832, at the age of 84 at his residence in Queen Square Place in Westminster, London. He had continued to write up to a month before his death, and had made careful preparations for the dissection of his body after death and its preservation as an auto-icon.

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