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First published in 1973, this title offers a concise and readable account of Burke's political philosophy. As well as examining the foundation for Burke's thought, the book also provides much needed connections between the fields of history and political theory. Critical comment and analysis of Burke's attitudes to the problems of the second half of the eighteenth century are also included.
Edmund Burke (1730–97) lived during one of the most extraordinary periods of world history. He grappled with the significance of the British Empire in India, fought for reconciliation with the American colonies, and was a vocal critic of national policy during three European wars. He also advocated reform in Britain and became a central protagonist in the great debate on the French Revolution. Drawing on the complete range of printed and manuscript sources, Empire and Revolution offers a vivid reconstruction of the major concerns of this outstanding statesman, orator, and philosopher. In restoring Burke to his original political and intellectual context, this book overturns the conventional picture of a partisan of tradition against progress and presents a multifaceted portrait of one of the most captivating figures in eighteenth-century life and thought. A boldly ambitious work of scholarship, this book challenges us to rethink the legacy of Burke and the turbulent era in which he played so pivotal a role.
This biography of statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797), covering three decades, is the first to attend to the complexity of Burke's thought as it emerges in both the major writings and private correspondence. David Bromwich reads Burke's career as an imperfect attempt to organize an honorable life in the dense medium he knew politics to be.
Today the idea of natural law as the basic ingredient in moral, legal, and political thought presents a challenge not faced for almost two hundred years. On the surface, there would appear to be little room in the contemporary world for a widespread belief in natural law. The basic philosophies of the opposition--the rationalism of the philosophes, the utilitarianism of Bentham, the materialism of Marx--appear to have made prior philosophies irrelevant. Yet these newer philosophies themselves have been overtaken by disillusionment born of conflicts between "might" and "right." Many thoughtful people who were loyal to secular belief have become dissatisfied with the lack of normative principles and have turned once more to natural law. This first book-length study of Edmund Burke and his philosophy, originally published in 1958, explores this intellectual giant's relationship to, and belief in, the natural law. It has long been thought that Edmund Burke was an enemy of the natural law, and was a proponent of conservative utilitarianism. Peter J. Stanlis shows that, on the contrary, Burke was one of the most eloquent and profound defenders of natural law morality and politics in Western civilization. A philosopher in the classical tradition of Aristotle and Cicero, and in the Scholastic tradition of Aquinas, Burke appealed to natural law in the political problems he encountered in American, Irish, Indian, and British affairs, and in reaction to the French Revolution. This book is as relevant today as it was when it was first published, and will be mandatory reading for students of philosophy, political science, law, and history.
"In The Great Debate Yuval Levin explores the origins of the familiar left/right divide in American politics by examining the views of the men who best represent each side of that debate: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. In a groundbreaking exploration of the origins of our political order, Levin shows that our political divide did not originate (as many historians argue) in the French Revolution, but rather in the Anglo-American debate about that revolution. Burke and Paine were both utterly fascinating figures--active in politics, versed in philosophy, and two of the best, most effective and powerful political writers and polemicists in the history of the English speaking world. Levin sets the work of these two men against the dramatic history of their era and shows how they mixed theory and practice to advance their very different notions of liberty, equality, nature, history, reason, revolution, and reform. Paine believed in radical change and saw the American and French Revolutions as catalysts for creating a new society; Burke believed in a significantly more gradual approach with each generation acting merely as part of a long chain of history. These differing approaches to revolution and reform created a division that continues to shape our current political discourse--including issues ranging from gun control and abortion to welfare and economic reform"--
This is the first collection of the writings of Edmund Burke that precede Reflections on the Revolution in France. A thinker whose range transcends formal boundaries, Burke has been highly prized by both conservatives and liberal socialists, and this new edition charts the development of his thought and its importance as a response to the events of his day. Burke's mind spanned theology, aesthetics, moral philosophy and history, as well as the political affairs of Ireland, England, America, India and France, and he united these concerns in his view of inequality. This edition provides the student with all the necessary information for an understanding of the complexities of Burke's thought. Each text is prefaced by a summary, and extensive notes and an introduction place these works in the context of Burke's thought as a whole.

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