Utopian Fiction and Democracy

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Allen Butcher:

" An excellent example of utopian fiction in one century becoming reality in another is provided by Joyce Oramel Hertzler in his work, The History of Utopian Thought. Hertzler explains that several ideas written as suggestions for English government by James Harrington in his utopian fiction, Oceana, written in 1656 during the time of Oliver Cromwell and the British Commonwealth, became a primary influence upon American government in the 1700s. Hertzler writes, …

Oceana … dealt almost entirely with the machinery of an enlightened state. … The principles of the “empire of laws” and rotation of office in the Constitution of Massachusetts were taken [by John Adams] directly from the Oceana. The secret ballot was made part of the first constitution of New York State but a hundred years after Harrington voiced the thought. … The sentence from Oceana: “The exercise of all just authority over a free people ought to arise from their own consent,” was uppermost in the mind of Thomas Jefferson when he drafted the declaration of American Independence; in fact, he made use of its very words in maintaining that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. (Hertzler, p. 297)"