Leisure and Radical Jacobinism

  • Karl Spracklen


The late eighteenth century in the global North saw the rise to prominence of radical political theory associated with the left wing of the Enlightenment and what was disparagingly referred to as Jacobinism. In the writing of radicals such as Thomas Paine, human rights to liberty extended to the right to have the same freedoms from work and for leisure that elites had established themselves in the culture of the “leisured gentleman”. In this chapter, I will explore the meaning of leisure in the ideology, theory and manifesto of this radical movement. I will focus on Paine’s Rights of Man and the political charters of radical Jacobinism to show that leisure attained its modern importance in this period, but the failed outcome of the radical movement meant free leisure for most people in the nineteenth-century global North remained an ideal at best, or forgotten at worst.


Paine Liberal Freedom Radical Enlightenment Jacobinism 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl Spracklen
    • 1
  1. 1.Carnegie FacultyLeeds Beckett UniversityLeedsUK

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