Gerrard Winstanley

(c. 1609—1676) author and Digger

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(c. 1609–after 1660)

English radical Puritan. He was the leader of the Diggers, who cultivated common land in Surrey in 1649–50, when food prices had risen sharply, and were then forced off their land by the authorities. Winstanley later became prominent as a pamphleteer with communistic ideas. In dedicating his most famous pamphlet, The Law of Freedom in a Platform, to Cromwell in 1652, he showed surprising naïvety in thinking that Cromwell would approve the thesis that the English Civil War had been fought against all who were enemies of the poor, including landlords and priests.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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