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Although 'The Present State of Germany' was first made available in English over three centuries ago, it has been virtually unavailable in English since the period of the American Founding. By 1696, Pufendorf was well known in England as a staunch defender of the Protestant cause and as one of the renovators of natural law. His writings were familiar to such luminaries as Locke and figured prominently in James Tyrells 'Patriarcha non Monarcha' (1681).
Samuel Pufendorf (1632-1694) was one of the most important figures in early-modern political thought. An exact contemporary of Locke and Spinoza, he transformed the natural law theories of Grotius and Hobbes, developed striking ideas of toleration and of the relationship between church and state, and wrote extensive political histories and analyses of the constitution of the German empire. Basil Kennett (1674-1715) was an antiquary, translator, and Anglican clergyman who led a team effort in translating Pufendorf's great work. Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.