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MonkeyNotes-Utopia by Sir Thomas More
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This ideal king is contrasted with kings like that of France who wanted to conquer Italy. The King of France had an ancient and somewhat spurious claim to Naples when he already ruled over Milan. Hythloday charges the French King with meddling in affairs that are not his business -- laying claim to foreign domains under some false pretext, buying soldiers, sowing sedition among the enemy and so on. And Henry was as capable as France's king in committing wrongdoing.

More criticizes the king's methods of making money by juggling with the value of the currency, fighting wars and collecting taxes, and reviving old and "moth-eaten laws" to collect new fines. All these were practiced by both Henry VII and his son.


Utopian religion is an all-encompassing undenominational theism. It imposes only two beliefs -- in the existence of a Supreme Being and in the immortality of the soul. Otherwise, there are no bars. Utopians can worship the sun, the moon, the planets and even souls of noble men. As a consequence, Utopia escapes the bane of sixteenth century Europe, namely religious corruption.

This is not mentioned in the first book along with the other ills, but religious strife and turmoil were antithetical to More's Christian ethics. Although a devout Catholic, More realized that the Church was less than pure and well intentioned. The clergy were seen to be venal, corrupt and self-serving. Corrupt religious practices such as selling pardons had become widespread. With this realization, many people became disillusioned with the Church and this prepared the way for the advent of the Protestant Reformation.

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