This article proposes “coalition” as an organizing dynamic for opposition politics that influenced an emergent conception of religious toleration in the English Civil Wars. Through readings of John Milton’s Areopagitica (1644), and in comparisons with his immediate forbears and contemporaries, the article distinguishes this conception of toleration from later liberal formulations. In closing, it argues that the formal dynamics of coalition also characterize the marital relationship of Adam and Eve after the fall in Milton’s epic Paradise Lost (1667, 1674).

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