Read e-book online A Liberal Descent: Victorian historians and the English past PDF

By J. W. Burrow

ISBN-10: 0521240794

ISBN-13: 9780521240796

The belief of a 'Whig interpretation' of English heritage comprises the 2 primary notions of growth and continuity. the previous made it attainable to learn English background as a 'success story', the latter recommended a practical, gradualist political sort because the beginning of English freedom. Dr Burrow's e-book discover those principles, and the tensions among them in experiences of 4 significant Victorian historians: Macaulay, Stubbs, Freeman and (as anything of an anti style) Froude. It analyses their works when it comes to their rhetorical suggestiveness in addition to their particular arguments, and makes an attempt to put them of their cultural and historiographical context. In doing so, the e-book additionally seeks to set up the importance for the Victorians of 3 nice crises of English heritage - the Norman conquest, the reformation and the revolution of the 17th century - and the character and bounds of the self-confidence they have been in a position to derive from the nationwide earlier. The e-book will curiosity scholars and lecturers engaged on nineteenth-century English heritage, literature or social and political proposal, the heritage of rules, and felony and constitutional background. it's going to even be of worth to the overall reader attracted to Victorian literature and cultural heritage.

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Extra info for A Liberal Descent: Victorian historians and the English past

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He is sufficient of a Humean to see that the social and economic changes of the period would be reflected in profound constitutional changes; on the other hand he remains sufficient of an English Whig constitutionalist to want to continue to get the better of the strictly constitutional argument and to retain his reasons for hating Charles I. The remark on the veto, insignificant though it may seem, shows him awkwardly trying to combine, in a particularly unpromising instance, the two strands of the nineteenth-century Whig case: conflating an argument about what was progressive with an argument about what 15 Macaulay, Works, v.

4. Fox, James the Second, p. 60. , ii. 339. 53 Hallam, Const. , p. 176. 55 Millar, iv. 294, 298. A heritage and its history 2 5 to the dictates of experience'56 - and he goes on to draw the contemporary moral. Yet it was not enough that the Whig's ancestors had innovated; they must also have been respectful of constitutional precedent and form, to license and enjoin a similar respect in their descendants. 57 The Whig via media, with its belief in the value of continuity and the associated virtue of piety, placed heavy demands on those it chose to claim as ancestors: they must have been unafraid of necessary innovation, yet also deeply versed in, and observant of, constitutional precedent.

Hume, on the other hand, believing both that there were profound social reasons for the crisis and that the constitutional precedents were heterogeneous, was able to do full justice to the Stuarts' dilemma. Macaulay is caught between the two. He is sufficient of a Humean to see that the social and economic changes of the period would be reflected in profound constitutional changes; on the other hand he remains sufficient of an English Whig constitutionalist to want to continue to get the better of the strictly constitutional argument and to retain his reasons for hating Charles I.

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A Liberal Descent: Victorian historians and the English past by J. W. Burrow


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