(1611—1677) political theorist
published his great republican work The Commonwealth of Oceana in 1656 and wrote several tracts in defence of this work, and other political works (The Prerogative of Popular Government, 1657–8; The Art of Law‐Giving, 1659; Aphorisms Political, 1659). In all these he expounds his concept of a republic or commonwealth, advocates the ballot, rotation of officers, indirect elections, etc. In 1659 he founded the Rota, a coffee‐house academy. In 1661 he was arrested and imprisoned on a charge of treason, defended himself ably, and was later released. Harrington has never been considered a great stylist but he had many admirers, including Wordsworth and Coleridge, and his shrewd historical analysis and political projections have increasingly attracted attention.