J.T. Price

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. John R. Rilling


John Selden rose from a relatively obscure background to become an internationally renowned legal scholar and a key parliamentary leader during the contentious Parliament of 1628-1629. Selden's father was a "ministrell," yet the younger Selden became one of the most respected thinkers in London while still fairly young, and would eventually take a leading role in Parliament. Selden's brilliant mind, personality, and actions as an "honest broker" in his turbulent times made him a man who all sides could respect and who could stay afloat and prosper in the shifting political sands of Seventeenth Century England.

John Selden was the son of a minstrel who married Margaret Baker~ the daughter of a Kentish squire. The elder John Selden, through his marriage and work, became fairly prosperous, and the family eventually owned eighty-one acres with an annual worth of 23 pounds 8 shillings. This prosperity allowed Selden to receive a good elementary education at the Prebendal Free School in Chichester and to be sent off to Oxford in 1600, at age 15. Although Selden's schooling emphasized religion, it seemed to affect him little: "I myself get nothing [religion]."

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