Thomas More's "Utopia"

Essay by jmoneylawA, September 2006

download word file, 6 pages 5.0

Is America a modern feudal society?

In 1516, Sir Thomas More also known as the patron saint of lawyers book "Utopia" was first published. In Utopia More discusses the European power politics of his day through a novel, which serves as a political discourse spoken from a fictional character by the name of Raphael Hythloday. Hythloday's character is used as a mouthpiece so Thomas More can critically discuss the politics of England, catholic church, war, foreign policy, capital punishment, euthanasia and other controversial issues in Mores day or in contemporary America. More's Utopia reminds one of the philosophical Greek city-states discussed by Socrates in Plato's republic. Utopia is an island similar to England, which leads us to believe that he was in fact discussing public policy through the means of a fictional novel. Moreover, Utopia is a state that puts the community as a whole as the priority amongst its citizens contrary to the egotistical, materialistic driven, self -serving society that is America today.

Sir Thomas More exposes the injustices that are abundant in Europe during the end of the feudal system. Mores utopia lacks the Darwinesque survival of the fittest mentality of the corporate world in the 21st century, Utopia is a society without private property, greed, money, class structure, politicians, lawyers, and class oppression based on socioeconomic hierarchies that have been associated with the contemporary United States as well as England of Mores day.

In book, I Hytholday is speaking critically of the form of justice that is dealt out to the destitute, unwaged, thieves and the vagabonds of England in the 15th century where the punishment of choice was a noose around ones neck for the minor infraction of social norms, which is theft. William Harrison reported that in the reign of Henry VIII alone...