Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Oceana is now considered a hard, prolix, and in many respects heavy exposition of an ideal constitution, "Oceana" being England, and the lawgiver Olphaus Megaletor, representing Oliver Cromwell. The details are carefully elaborated, right down to the salaries of officials, but there are only two main ideas, each with a practical corollary. The first is that the determining element of power in a state is property, particularly property in land; the second is that the executive power ought not to be vested for any considerable time in the same men or class of men. In accordance with the first of these, Harrington recommends an agrarian law, limiting holdings of land to the amount yielding a revenue of £3000, and consequently insisting on particular modes of distributing landed property. As a practical issue of the second he lays down the rule of rotation by ballot. A third part of the executive or senate are voted out by ballot every year, and may not be elected again for three years. Harrington explains very carefully how the state and its governing parts are to be constituted by his scheme.
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