The Legislation of Accumulation

Jordana Rosenberg

in Critical Enthusiasm

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199764266
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895359 | DOI:
The Legislation of Accumulation

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Chapter Two reviews the upheaval of eighteenth-century legal discourse and practice to accommodate the advent of capital accumulation, and demonstrates that the concept of enthusiasm reflected these transformations in unique ways. I focus this legal history on a series of debates surrounding the Camisards, religious enthusiasts who immigrated to London following Louis XIV’s revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and who were subsequently tried at Guildhall for public displays of enthusiasm. In readings of the Camisard Prophets, Shaftesbury, Bernard Mandeville, and the legal theorists Edward Coke and Matthew Hale, I demonstrate the ways in which enthusiasm yoked an ideal of the “free market” to that of enthusiastic self-government. I examine these figural pairings in terms of changes to the legal landscape and to the politics of policing religious sedition in the early eighteenth century. I argue that the Camisard trial reflects a larger shift in English legal theory and practice from the feudal construct of common law to the rise of Parliamentary statute law. I argue that this shift accommodated a new set of debates around capital punishment, and the relation of capital punishment to not only the exercise of state sovereignty, but also refinements in the productivity of the state.

Keywords: legal history; religious sedition; camisards; statute law; common law; sovereignty; free market; Edward Coke; Matthew Hale

Chapter.  15368 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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