Hakluyt’s Peripatetic Discourse

in Explorations in Renaissance Culture
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In this article, I examine intellectual correspondences between two manuscripts that Richard Hakluyt (1552–1616) presented to Queen Elizabeth i in tandem in 1584: his well-known “Discourse of Western Planting” and his underappreciated “Analysis” of Aristotle’s Politics. I argue that Aristotle’s vision of the ideal political state as a materially and morally self-sustaining system, as represented in the “Analysis,” serves as the philosophical foundation of Hakluyt’s recommendations in the “Discourse” that England pursue an aggressive policy of expansionist, colonial growth. Hakluyt describes colonialism as a panacea for England’s socioeconomic issues and as the means by which England might become self-sustaining in the manner of Aristotle’s ideal state.

Hakluyt’s Peripatetic Discourse

in Explorations in Renaissance Culture


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