Log in

Radical Translations

  • Date
  • False: false attribution such as false place of imprint or false date
  • Fictional place: false imprint contains a fictional, invented place of imprint or date
  • Form: type or genre of writing.
  • Female
  • Male
  • Language
  • Noble: person was born noble.
  • Place
  • Role: the main role of a person or organization in relation to a resource.
  • Subject: content, theme, or topic of a work.
  • Uncertainty: information could not be verified.

Filippo Mazzei


  1. Déclaration des droits qui nous appartiennent à nous & à nos descendans, & qui doivent être considérés comme la base fondamentale de notre gouvernement, rendue par les représentans du bon peuple de Virginie, complettement & librement assemblés à Williamsburg, le premier juin 1776 translation translator
  2. Examen du gouvernement d'Angleterre, comparé aux constitutions des États-Unis: Où l'on réfute quelques assertions contenues dans l'ouvrage de M. Adams, intitulé: Apologie des constitutions des États-Unis d'Amérique, & dans celui de M. Delolme, intitulé, De la constitution d'Angleterre paratext author
  3. Recherches historiques et politiques sur les États-Unis de l'Amérique Septentrionale, par un Citoyen de Virginie: où l'on traite des établissemens des treize colonies, de leurs rapports & de leurs dissentions avec la Grande-Bretagne, de leurs gouvernemens avant & après la révolution, etc. Avec quatre lettres d'un Bourgeois de New-Heaven sur l'unité de la législation translation author
  4. Unknown 65 has translation author


Member of


Mazzei is known principally for his key role as a "connecting agent" or "cultural broker", introducing, for example, the English translation of Cesare Beccaria's 'On Crimes and Punishments' to Thomas Jefferson, and the American political system to group of the French constitutionalists centred around Condorcet.

Born in Tuscany to a tradesman, Mazzei studied medicine in Florence before moving first to Smyrna (Izmir) and and then to London, drawn by the aura of liberty supposedly provided by the English constitution. He remained in London for the next sixteen years where he earned a living by teaching Italian (his pupils included a young Edward Gibbon who studied Machiavelli under his instruction) and selling Italian products. However, he soon found himself disillusioned by the practice of impressment (forcible naval recruitment) and the concentration of powers in the hands of the government. After the Wilkes affair, when the radical MP John Wilkes was prevented on multiple occasions from taking up his seat in Parliament, he decided, in 1773, to move to Virginia, with the support of American friends, such as Benjamin Franklin. His original plan had been to practise viticulture with imported Italian vines but the outbreak of war led him to journalism and a brief stint in the Albermarle militia.

Much of his early writing, advocating the American cause and opposing the British model of government, was sent to leading Florentine journals, such as the Notizie del Mondo and Gazzetta Universale, including an early translation of the 'Declaration of Independence' months before its ratification. In 1779, he was appointed Virginia’s agent in Europe by Governor Patrick Henry. Upon his return to Virginia, Mazzei moved his estate to Richmond where he organized the Constitutional Society, a group of pamphleteers seeking to influence public policy. Unable to secure a position within the American government, on account of not being an American citizen, he moved to Paris in 1785, in order to be with Jefferson who had been appointed American minister to France. Jefferson was influenced by Mazzei and used an excerpt from one of Mazzei’s articles in his own writing while Mazzei in turn reviewed a rough draft of the 'Declaration of Independence', and has been credited with the phrase, “all men are created equal.” In 1980, his contribution to the American cause was officially recognized by the U.S. Postal Service with a stamp, 'Philip Mazzei, Patriot Remembered'.

The publication of Mazzei's 'Recherches' in 1788 led to him being offered the diplomatic post of Polish agent in Paris for King Stanislas August Poniatowski. Here he helped to found the opposition Club de 1789, for which he was charged with its foreign correspondence. However, his devotion to a limited monarchy led to him falling out with his former friend Condorcet over his anti-monarchical writings. He condemned the issues of assignats as a dangerously inflationary step, denounced the intrigues of foreign powers and urged the suppression of the Jacobins by the National Guard. Profoundly disappointed by the course of events during the Revolution, he left for Warsaw in December 1791, where he hoped to have some influence over the future direction of Poland. Following its dismemberment by Russia he retired to Pisa in Italy.