Professor Roberta Modugno finds many of the roots of modern libertarian thinking in the 17th century Levellers movement in England. Her article draws the contrast between the government’s authoritarianism and favoritism toward certain people (such as by granting them monopolies) with the principles of the Levellers, who advocated liberty and peace.

King Charles I to Barack Obama — little has changed. Governments extract wealth from productive people and use it to buy support and allow the rulers and their largely useless functionaries to live well at the expense of everyone else.

As you read the article, you’ll come across links to some other illuminating works, including Murray Rothbard’s great essay The Anatomy of the State and Ludwig von Mises’ book The Anticapitalist Mentality.