Arbitrary Rule offers a rich, intricately detailed account of numerous issues likely to engage and inspire readers in a multitude of fields, from political theory to literature, from radical race theory to colonial and postcolonialist discourses. Mary Nyquist explores an evolving ideology that dominated European political thought for centuries: the antityranny discourse formulated by Aristotle and inherited by a long line of successors. His central distinction between freeborn citizens and slaves was maintained, with important modifications, by a long Greco-Roman tradition and much later (after its reemergence in the Renaissance Italian city-states) by prominent sixteenth- and seventeenth-century resistance theorists in France, England, and the Netherlands. Nyquist opens with an intensive and illuminating close reading of both Aristotle and Cicero, but she is otherwise almost exclusively concerned with later, mostly British and French developments of their theories. This focus is determined by the...

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