John Milton 's Influence On Modern History Essay examples

1318 Words May 4th, 2016 6 Pages
John Milton, considered among the most distinguished authors of the English language, published the Areopagitica in 1644 as an appeal against the English Parliament’s Licensing Order of June 16th, 1643. The Areopagitica, although not considered Milton’s best work, is believed to be one of the most influential and timeless defenses to the basis of free speech and expression with applications to controversies throughout modern history. John Milton lived during a time of religious and political turbulence; throughout his life, England was separated by many differing beliefs and opinions. Milton took to the Parliamentarian movement, in support of the English governing body, during this time of political dissent. He addressed Areopagitica to Parliament knowing that Parliament held complete control over the Order. Further, the Licensing Order of 1643 was passed in an attempt to “suppress(ing) the great late abuses and frequent disorders in Printing... to the great defamation of Religion and Government,” (Areopagitica, 55). John Milton argued that no publication should be subject to government approval, he states that this attempt at censorship would not be effective, due to its sheer number of proposed publications. Similar to Ancient Greek and Roman proceedings, John Milton believed that publications, if found libelous, should be subject to punishment. Although the Areopagitica was unsuccessful in eradicating the Licensing Order, it represents one of the first major appeals to…

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