46 Facts About Algernon Sidney


Algernon Sidney or Sydney was an English politician, republican political theorist and colonel.

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Algernon Sidney was later charged with plotting against Charles II, in part based on his most famous work, Discourses Concerning Government, which was used by the prosecution as a witness at his trial.

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Algernon Sidney directly opposed the theory of divine right of kings by suggesting ideas such as limited government, voluntary consent of the people and the right of citizens to alter or abolish a corrupt government.

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Algernon Sidney's mother was Dorothy Percy, daughter of Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland.

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Algernon Sidney was born at Baynard's Castle, London, and was raised at Penshurst Place in Kent.

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Algernon Sidney fought at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, where an observer wrote: "Colonel Sidney charged with much gallantry in the head of my Lord Manchester's regiment of horses, and came off with many wounds, the true badges of his honour".

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Algernon Sidney was later appointed colonel of the regiment when it was transferred to the New Model Army, but relinquished the appointment due to ill health.

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In 1645 Sidney was elected to the Long Parliament as Member of Parliament for Cardiff where he opposed compromising with the King, Charles I In 1648 he opposed the purge of moderates who had formed the Rump Parliament.

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In 1653 when Cromwell's army entered Parliament to dissolve it after a Bill was introduced that would have made elections freer, Algernon Sidney refused to leave the House until threatened with physical removal.

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In retirement, Algernon Sidney was bold enough to outrage the Lord Protector by allegedly putting on a performance of Julius Caesar, and playing the role of Brutus.

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Algernon Sidney was for a time the lover of Lucy Walter, later the mistress of Charles II.

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Algernon Sidney regarded the Republic as vigorously pursuing England's national interests, writing in his Discourses Concerning Government:.

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Algernon Sidney discarded conventional diplomatic norms to impose a peace favourable to England.

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But, Montagu planned to go back to England with the fleet, leading Algernon Sidney to give "his opinion, [that] for sending away the whole fleet he thought he should deserve to lose his head".

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Algernon Sidney was saved by a stranger from an assassination attempt.

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In 1663 during a trip to the Calvinist academy at the University of Geneva, Algernon Sidney wrote in the visitor's book: "SIT SANGUINIS ULTOR JUSTORUM".

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In mid-1666 Algernon Sidney was in Paris, where he negotiated with the king, Louis XIV.

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Algernon Sidney remained in France until 1677, when he returned to England.

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Algernon Sidney claimed that an English republic would have a natural "unity of interest" with the Dutch Republic in "extirpat[ing] the two detested families of Stuart and Orange".

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On his father's death, Algernon Sidney inherited £5, 100, but to obtain his inheritance was forced to bring a lawsuit against his brothers, who as executors of the estate had refused to pay him the money, in the Court of Chancery.

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At the moment my most intimate liaison is with Mr Algernon Sidney; he is the man in England who seems to me to have the greatest understanding of affairs; he has great relations with the rest of the Republican party; And nobody in my opinion is more capable of rendering service than him.

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Algernon Sidney wished for an alliance of English and Dutch republicans against the Stuart–Orange alliance and told Barillon "that it is an old error to believe that it is against the interest of France to suffer England to become a republic".

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Algernon Sidney believed that it was a "fundamental principle that the House of Stuart and that of Orange are inseparably united".

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Algernon Sidney united with Lord Shaftesbury and others in plotting against the perceived royal tyranny, of a 'force without authority.

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Algernon Sidney petitioned the King for mercy on the grounds of Jeffreys' unprofessional conduct, and friends and relatives added their pleas: but the King was as implacable as he had been in the case of William Russell, Lord Russell.

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Algernon Sidney now resigned himself to death, remarking coarsely that for all he cared "the King can make a snuffbox from my arse".

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Algernon Sidney reiterated his objections to absolute monarchy in Discourses Concerning Government, arguing that these did not constitute treason.

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Algernon Sidney concluded by declaring that he was dying for the Good Old Cause.

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Algernon Sidney's Discourses Concerning Government was written during the Exclusion Crisis, as a response to Robert Filmer's Patriarcha, a defence of divine right monarchy, first published in 1680.

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Algernon Sidney's power extends beyond government into the private religious life of his subjects.

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Algernon Sidney believed that individuals have the right to choose their own form of government and that, if that government became corrupt, the people retained the power to abolish it and form another.

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Algernon Sidney argued that for a valid civil government to exist, it must be formed by general and voluntary consent.

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Furthermore, Algernon Sidney believed that civil government should have limited jurisdiction.

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Algernon Sidney said the, "only ends for which governments are constituted and obedience rendered to them, are the obtaining of justice and protection".

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Algernon Sidney's Discourses Concerning Government along with Locke's Two Treatises on Government are recognized as critical works in the founding of the United States of America.

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Algernon Sidney seemed to be a Christian, but in a particular form of his own.

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Algernon Sidney thought it was to be like a divine philosophy in the mind, but he was against all public worship, and every thing that looked like church.

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Algernon Sidney was stiff to all republican principles, and such an enemy to every thing that looked like monarchy, that he set himself in a high opposition against Cromwell when he was made protector.

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Algernon Sidney had indeed studied the history of government in all its branches beyond any man I ever knew.

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Kenyon said that Algernon Sidney's Discourses "were certainly much more influential than Locke's Two Treatises".

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Algernon Sidney's reputation suffered a blow when Sir John Dalrymple published his Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland in 1771, which exposed him as a pensioner of Louis XIV.

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Dalrymple, who had greatly admired Algernon Sidney, wrote that he would hardly feel more shame if he had seen his own son run away from a battle.

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Algernon Sidney had a significant effect on the American conception of liberty.

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Algernon Sidney was a hero of John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, "the best-read and most widely regarded pamphleteers of prerevolutionary times".

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Algernon Sidney is one of the namesakes for Hampden–Sydney College in Virginia.

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Algernon Sidney was chosen because of the role his ideas played in moulding the beliefs of the American Revolutionary thinkers.

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