Get 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 contains the 2 primary notions of growth and continuity. the previous made it attainable to learn English heritage as a 'success story', the latter counseled a realistic, gradualist political kind because the origin of English freedom. Dr Burrow's e-book discover those rules, and the tensions among them in experiences of 4 significant Victorian historians: Macaulay, Stubbs, Freeman and (as whatever of an anti kind) Froude. It analyses their works when it comes to their rhetorical suggestiveness in addition to their specific arguments, and makes an attempt to put them of their cultural and historiographical context. In doing so, the booklet additionally seeks to set up the importance for the Victorians of 3 nice crises of English background - the Norman conquest, the reformation and the revolution of the 17th century - and the character and boundaries 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 background, literature or social and political inspiration, the background of rules, and felony and constitutional heritage. it's going to even be of worth to the overall reader attracted to Victorian literature and cultural background.

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Example text

Trevelyan, Life, p. 522 A heritage and its history 2 7 Hume's position is initially similar to that of the early eighteenth-century Whig apologists for Walpole, in that it incorporates a conception of progress and holds liberty to be on the whole modern rather than ancient. Of course Hume's version was far subtler, having nothing of that stark political Manichaeanism which Walpole's pamphleteers had perforce taken over from Bolingbroke and the Country Party polemics when standing their arguments on their head.

It was a contention which, in the agitation for extensions of the franchise - to which Hallam refers in the conclusion to his History - could have a useful duality, enjoining mutual trust on both haves and havenots. English liberty was unique but also capacious; the message of Hallam's History is a justified sense of shared privilege. To English Whigs, characteristically, England is related to the fate of Europe not, as in Hume and Millar, as the sharer of a common advancing civilisation, which in England, because of peculiar circumstances, has developed distinctive political features, but, if at all, as the bearer of a political mission.

India, the shocks of 1848, and the patriotic fervours of the Crimean War did not leave the tone of Macaulay's mind unaltered. The mellowing of age, coinciding, in his case, with the more equable pulse of public life — as he himself noted6 — of the middle years of the century, mitigated the vivid delight in partisanship and polemic. Occasionally, comparisons of the earlier and later Macaulay will be relevant here, but for the most part these changes need no more than a caveat^ we are concerned here with the range within which 3 4 5 Trevelyan, Life, pp.

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


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