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An Essay on the First Principles of Government - Priestley, Joseph - 1768. 
1768. Priestley's First Substantial Political Work, An Influence on the Constitutional Thought of the American Founding Fathers Priestley, Joseph [1733-1804]. An Essay on the First Principles of Government; And on the Nature of Political, Civil, And Religious Liberty. Dublin: Printed for James Williams, 1768. xii, 214 pp. Octavo (6-1/2" x 3-3/4"). Contemporary mottled calf, raised bands and lettering piece to spine. Moderate rubbing to extremities, small chip to head of spine, front joint just starting at head, corners bumped, light toning to text. Faint early owner signature to title page, small mark in miniscule hand ("17.355") to front pastedown, interior otherwise clean. * First Dublin edition, and the second edition overall, a reprint of the London edition published the same year. Priestley's first substantial political work, one that influenced several American founding fathers, such as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, An Essay on the First Principles of Government is a full expression of his deeply held humanitarian beliefs. It is based on Priestley's Essay on a Course of Liberal Education (1765), which took issue with the authoritarian educational philosophy favored by John "Estimate" Brown in his Thoughts on Civil Liberty. Priestley develops the theme of his earlier essay further, arguing for a system of education compatible with the liberal political philosophy that he advocates as a matter of morality and a prerequisite for social progress. Adams and Jefferson owned copies of this book. A note in Sowerby says Jefferson often recommended it to others and cites a letter from 1802 in which he says it expressed the principles of the U.S. Constitution and their practical development in many of its articles. Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson 2332 (listing the second edition, London, 1771). www.johnadamslibrary.org/book/?book=241467Adams291.1 (listing the second edition). English Short-Title Catalogue N9377.
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