Sidney, Algernon (1623–1683)

Algernon Sidney was a statesman and philosopher. Sidney is best known for conspiring to rebel against Charles II of England and for his subsequent beheading for his participation in activities against the king. However, his primary significance lies in the political theory he offered in his book Discourses Concerning Government, published posthumously, which was of tremendous influence in the American colonies.

Sidney was born to an aristocratie family. His father, the Earl of Leicester, served as England's ambassador to France during the 1630s, and Sidney entered politics as a young man. He was elected to Parliament in 1646, before being expelled by Oliver Cromwell in 1653. He resumed his seat in Parliament in 1659, but his second term in government also was short-lived. In 1660, ...

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