The Levellers

About this Collection

The Levellers, such as John Lilburne (1615-1657), Richard Overton (1631-1664), and William Walwyn (c. 1600-1681), were a group of radical libertarian activists and pamphleteers who were active during the English Revolution. They advocated individual liberty, property rights, constitutionally limited government, religious toleration, and free trade at a time when virtually none of these things existed in England. For their troubles, several of them were repeatedly imprisoned and their publications censored.

For more information see the main author pages listed below as well as:

Tracts on Liberty by the Levellers and their Critics (1638-1660), 7 vols.

For more information about our seven volume collection of Leveller Tracts see:

The full collection: Tracts on Liberty by the Levellers and their Critics (1638-1660), 7 vols. Edited by David M. Hart and Ross Kenyon (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2014-15).

It consists of the following:

Further Information about the Pamphlets and the Authors

Publishing information about each title can be found in the catalog of the George Thomason collection (henceforth “TT” for Thomason Tracts). Each tract is given a catalog number and a date when the item came into his possession (thus not necessarily the date of publication). We have used these dates to organise our collection in rough chronological order:

Catalogue of the Pamphlets, Books, Newspapers, and Manuscripts relating to the Civil War, the Commonwealth, and Restoration, collected by George Thomason, 1640-1661. 2 vols. (London: William Cowper and Sons, 1908).

  • Vol. 1. Catalogue of the Collection, 1640-1652
  • Vol. 2. Catalogue of the Collection, 1653-1661. Newspapers. Index.

Biographical information about the authors can be found in the Biographical Dictionary of British Radicals in the Seventeenth Century, ed. Richard L. Greaves and Robert Zeller (Brighton, Sussex: The Harvester Press, 1982-84), 3 vols.

  • Volume I: A-F
  • Volume II: G-O
  • Volume III: P-Z

Key People



John Lilburne argues from prison that the King and the Magistrate must obey the law like everyone else (1648)

John Lilburne


The Levellers’ Declaration of Independence (March 1647)

William Walwyn

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Thomas Paine on the absurdity of an hereditary monarchy (1791)

Thomas Paine

Religion & Toleration

William Walwyn wittily argues against state enforced religious conformity (1646)

William Walwyn