John Trenchard

1662 - 1723

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John Trenchard (1662-1723) was a radical Whig and Commonwealthman who, along with his collaborator Thomas Gordon (1692-1750), were important voices defending constitutionalism and individual liberty in the 1720s in England. Trenchard came from a prominent family, went to Trinity College, Dublin, and briefly served in the House of Commons. He worked as a journalist in the 1690s writing works criticising the idea of standing armies and the political power of the established church. Trenchard co-wrote The Independent Whig (1720-21) and Cato’s Letters (1720-23) with Gordon. He was a defender of the idea of liberty against political corruption, imperialism and militarism in the early 18th century. Their writings, especially Cato’s Letters, were also much read in the American colonies.