Men of Little Faith Facing the Modern State: The Country Party Ideology in Great Britain

  • Ivan JankovicEmail author


This chapter examines the “country party” theory in England and argues that it was not backward-looking and conservative as historians often claim, but rather exemplified a strong transatlantic liberal current of thought. This current is nowadays difficult to conceptualize because it rejects political modernization (centralization), while accepting the laissez-faire economics, modern Lockean individual liberty as well as cultural modernization. By concentrating mostly on their economic writings, the chapter demonstrates that Cato, Bolingbroke, Swift, and other country party thinkers essentially were indistinguishable from Adam Smith and David Hume in their renunciations of mercantilism, public debt, subsidies for corporations, and credit-paper induced false “prosperity.” What had been portrayed as their resistance to modern commerce, appears actually as their resistance to mercantilism. By using the British country party as a case study, we began to additionally flesh out in this chapter the contours of an alternative paradigm called “decoupled modernization,” which posits that political modernity in the form of a “fiscal-military state” devoted to mercantilism, must be divorced from economic, social, and cultural modernity which should be tied instead to older, medieval institutions of localism and federalism.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MaryBismarckUSA

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