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J&P 10 Edmund Burke
 

J&P 10 Edmund Burke

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Burke's critique of the French Revolution

Burke's critique of the French Revolution

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    J&P 10 Edmund Burke J&P 10 Edmund Burke Presentation Transcript

    • BurkeJustice & Power, session x
    • Topics in This Sessioni. Careerii. Speechesiii. Reflections on the Revolution in France; 1790iv. Criticism
    • Career
    • Career
    • I. CareerA. origins1. the Irish question2. religion and schoolingB. Trinity College, Dublin, 1744C. Middle Temple, London, 1750D. Burke’s Enlightenment phase1. A Vindication of Natural Society in a Letter to Lord...by a Late NobleWriter, 17562. aesthetics and coffee houses3. The Annual Register, 1758 et seq.E. Parliament, 1765-941. Whigs vs. Kings Friends2. patronsa. Ralph, 2ndearl of Verneyb. Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2ndmarquess of Rockingham, d. 17823. “open constituency,” Bristol 1774-794. “pocket borough,” Malton 1780-94
    • I.A.1-the Irish questionThe Cambro-Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169 began more than 700 years ofEnglish, then British, involvement in Irish history. The sixteenth centuryReformation introduced religious division into the two camps: the “Pale” of Anglosettlement which became Anglican Protestant, and the “wild Irish,” who remainedCatholic. The seventeenth century English civil war intensified the division.Cromwell’s Penal Laws were, according to Edmund Burke:By the end of the seventeenth century, recusant Roman Catholics, as adherentsto the old religion were now termed, representing some 85% of Irelands population,were then banned from the Irish Parliament. Political power rested entirely in thehands of an Anglican minority.Wikipedia“a machine of wise and elaborate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression,impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement in them of humannature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”
    • I.A.2-religion...Burke was born [in 1729] in Dublin, Ireland, to a prosperous solicitor father Richard …of the Church of Ireland…. His mother Mary...was a Roman Catholic and came from animpoverished but genteel County Cork family....Burke was raised in his fathers faith and remained throughout his life a practicingAnglican.... His political enemies were later repeatedly to accuse him of having beeneducated at the Jesuit seminary of St. Omers and of harboring secret Catholicsympathies at a time when membership of the Catholic Church would disqualify himfrom public office.... As Burke told Mrs. Crewe:Once an MP, Burke was required to take the oath of allegiance and abjuration, theoath of supremacy, and declare against transubstantiation. No Catholic is known tohave done so in the 18th century.WikipediaMr. Burkes Enemies often endeavored to convince the World that he had been bred up in theCatholic Faith, & that his Family were of it, & that he himself had been educated at St. Omer—but thiswas false, as his father was a regular practitioner of the Law at Dublin, which he could not be unless ofthe Established Church: & it so happened that though Mr. B— was twice at Paris, he never happenedto go through the Town of St. Omer.
    • CINCINNATUS in Retirement.falsely supposed to represent Jesuit-Pad driven back to his native Potatoes. see Romish Common-Wealth.SUMMARY: Cartoon showing Edmund Burke, as an Irish Jesuit, seated at a tableeating potatoes from a pot labeled "Relick No. 1. used by St. Peter." Upon theappointment of Shelburne, following the death of Rockingham, Burke resigned from hisposition as Rockinghams secretary in protest.Burke is portrayed as a Jesuit because he supported the 1778 Relief Act which relaxedrestrictions on the rights of Catholics. The poverty of the Irish is parodied by thepotatoes. Catholicism is parodied by the pictures on the wall, the mutilated crucifix, thepot labeled as a relic of St. Peter, and the demons dancing under the table.Wikipedia
    • CINCINNATUS in Retirement.falsely supposed to represent Jesuit-Pad driven back to his native Potatoes. see Romish Common-Wealth.SUMMARY: Cartoon showing Edmund Burke, as an Irish Jesuit, seated at a tableeating potatoes from a pot labeled "Relick No. 1. used by St. Peter." Upon theappointment of Shelburne, following the death of Rockingham, Burke resigned from hisposition as Rockinghams secretary in protest.Burke is portrayed as a Jesuit because he supported the 1778 Relief Act which relaxedrestrictions on the rights of Catholics. The poverty of the Irish is parodied by thepotatoes. Catholicism is parodied by the pictures on the wall, the mutilated crucifix, thepot labeled as a relic of St. Peter, and the demons dancing under the table.Wikipedia
    • I.A.2-religion and schoolinghe received his early education at a Quaker school some 30 miles fromDublin1744-age 15, he went to Trinity College, Dublin
    • I.A.2-religion and schooling
    • I.A.2-religion and schoolinghe received his early education at a Quaker school some 30 miles fromDublin1744-age 15, he went to Trinity College, Dublin1747-he set up a debating club, now the oldest undergraduate societyin the world1750-at his father’s request he attended the Middle Temple lawschool in London. But he soon gave it up for a writing career
    • I.A.2-religion and schoolingPart of Middle Temple c.1830 as drawn by Thomas Shepherd.
    • I.D.1-A Vindication...In almost the same time, 1756, as Rousseau’s Second Discourse (1755), Burkeproduced a parody of the writings of deist Lord Bolingbroke.Contrasted with natural Liberty and natural Religion, the author sets threegeneral forms of government,: Despotism, the simplest and most universal, where"unbounded Power proceeds Step by Step, until it has eradicated every laudablePrinciple"; Aristocracy, which is scarcely better, as "a Genoese, or a VenetianRepublick, is a concealed Despotism"; and giddy Democracy, where the commonpeople are "intoxicated with the Flatteries of their Orators":WikipediaRepublicks have many Things in the Spirit of absolute Monarchy, but none morethan this; a shining Merit is ever hated or suspected in a popular Assembly, as wellas in a Court.
    • I.D.1-A Vindication…(cont)Having employed fulminating rhetoric to dispense with the artificial PoliticalSocieties...the author, it might be expected, will turn to his idea of Natural Societyfor contrast. Instead, he turns his critical eye upon the Mixed government, whichcombines monarchy, aristocracy and a tempered democracy, the form of politics thisessays British readers would immediately identify as their own. His satirists viewtakes it all in, painting once again in broad strokes the dilemmas of the law courts orthe dissatisfactions of wealth, and closes— without actually having vindicatednatural society at all.WikipediaRepublicks have many Things in the Spirit of absolute Monarchy, but none morethan this; a shining Merit is ever hated or suspected in a popular Assembly, as wellas in a Court.
    • I.D.1-A Vindication…(concl.)"The writers against religion, whilst they oppose every system,are wisely careful never to set up any of their own." A Vindicationof Natural Society..Wikipedia
    • I.D.2-aesthetics and coffee housesJust as 18thcentury France had its salons where the intelligentsia gathered to talkof Enlightenment topics, the corresponding British institution was private clubswhich met in coffee houses. Their topics were not narrowly political. So the youngBurke (late twenties) was welcomed into one of the most glittering gatherings. Itfeatured literary giants like Dr. Samuel Johnson, the lexicographer, and hisbiographer, James Boswell; the painter, Sir Joshua Reynolds; the Anglo-Irishplaywright, Oliver Goldsmith; actor, David Garrick; Thomas Wharton, poetlaureate; music historian, Charles Burney; and political exile and Corsican patriot,Pasquale Paoli. They called themselves simply, The Club.jbp
    • I.D.3-The Annual Register, 1758 to the presentis a long-established reference work, written and published each year, whichrecords and analyses the year’s major events, developments and trends throughoutthe world. It was first written in 1758 under the editorship of Edmund Burke, [only29 years old at the time] and has been produced continuously since that date. In itscurrent form the first half of the book comprises articles on each of the world’scountries or regions, while the latter half contains articles on internationalorganizations, economics, the environment, science, law, religion, the arts and sport,together with obituaries, a chronicle of major events and selected documents. Inaddition to being produced annually in hardback, the book is also publishedelectronically and its entire 250-year archive is available online from its publisher,ProQuest.Wikipedia
    • I.D.3-The Annual Register, 1758 to the presentis a long-established reference work, written and published each year, whichrecords and analyses the year’s major events, developments and trends throughoutthe world. It was first written in 1758 under the editorship of Edmund Burke, [only29 years old at the time]• and has been produced continuously since that date. Inits current form the first half of the book comprises articles on each of the world’scountries or regions, while the latter half contains articles on internationalorganizations, economics, the environment, science, law, religion, the arts and sport,together with obituaries, a chronicle of major events and selected documents. Inaddition to being produced annually in hardback, the book is also publishedelectronically and its entire 250-year archive is available online from its publisher,ProQuest.Wikipedia
    • I.E.-Parliament, 1765-94-1. Whigs vs “King’s Friends”& 2. patronsDecember, 1765-Burke entered the House of Commons for Wendover, a“pocket borough” under the control of Ralph, Lord Fermanagh, later 2ndearl ofVerney. This fellow Anglo-Irishman was an ally of the marquess of Rockingham,the current prime minister. Burke first became secretary to Rockingham, then wasgiven this “safe seat.” Before the Reform Bill of 1832 election to the House ofCommons was a travesty by modern standards.Burke was a Whig, as were his patrons. They were, therefore, the opponentsof the court faction, then styled the “King’s Friends.” They are famous to us asthe authors of that series of repressive measures which led to our revolution: LordNorth, George Grenville (Stamp & Sugar Acts, 1764-65); Charles Townshend(Revenue Act, 1767)jbp
    • I.E.-Parliament, 1765-94-3. “open constituency”Bristol, 1774-79 4.”pocket borough,” Malton,1780-94His career was sufficiently successful that in 1774 he ran in a real election inBritain’s second largest city, the seaport of Bristol. It was here that he developedhis famous position that he was chosen by his constituents to use his ownjudgement in voting, not “take a poll” to see what the most popular vote might be.After being voted out for following his conscience, he spent the rest of his career ina safe “pocket borough.”jbpIn May 1778 Burke supported a motion in Parliament to revise the restrictionson Irish trade. However his constituents in Bristol, a great trading city, urgedBurke to oppose free trade with Ireland. Burke resisted these demands andsaid: "If, from this conduct, I shall forfeit their suffrages at an ensuing election,it will stand on record an example to future representatives of the Commons ofEngland, that one man at least had dared to resist the desires of hisconstituents when his judgment assured him they were wrong".--Wiki
    • Speeches
    • Speeches
    • II. SpeechesA. constitutional issue - Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, 17701. “Prerogative” vs “Influence”2. parties vs factionsB. colonial policy1. American - American Taxation, 1774, Conciliation with America, 17752. Irish3. Indian - Hastings impeachment, 1787-954. African- Wilberforce and the slave trade, 1788-89C. French Revolution1. Reflections (below)a. Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man, 1791-922. An Appeal from the Old to the New Whigs, 17913. Three Letters on a Regicide Peace, 1796-97
    • “After Burkes maiden speech, William Pitt the Elder [the great “bringer ofvictory” in the Seven Years War] said Burke had ‘spoken in such a manner asto stop the mouths of all Europe’ and that the Commons should congratulateitself on acquiring such a member.””-WikipediaEven the Anglo-Irish can sometimes acquire the “gift of gab.” Burke’sspeeches as well as his writings became a model of political oratory. Bartlett’squotes him extensively.George III, our George, had been advised by his mother to “be a king!” Thefirst two “German” Georges had allowed their British parliaments to directaffairs. George III and “the King’s Friends” were determined to restoreexecutive power. This constitutional crisis would be the occasion of Burke’sfirst great political struggle.jbp
    • II.A.-Thoughts on the Present Discontents, 1770II.A.1- “What once was dead androtten as prerogative is now sprungback to life in the odious form ofinfluence.II.A.2-”When bad men combine, thegood must associate; else they will fallone by one, an unpitied sacrifice in acontemptible struggle.“Public life is a situation of power andenergy; he trespasses against his dutywho sleeps upon his watch, as well as hethat goes over to the enemy.”
    • II.B.Colonial Policy-1. American Taxation, 1774“Reflect how you are to govern a peoplewho think they ought to be free, and thinkthey are not.“Your scheme yields no revenue; it yieldsnothing but discontent, disorder,disobedience; and such is the state ofAmerica, that after wading up to youreyes in blood, you could only end whereyou had begun;“that is, to tax where no revenue is to befound, to--my voice fails me; my inclinationis to go no farther--all is confusion beyondit.”
    • II.B.Colonial Policy-2. Conciliation with America, 1775“The use of force alone is but temporary.It may subdue for a moment; but it doesnot remove the necessity of subduingagain; and a nation is not governed whichis perpetually to be conquered.“The religion most prevalent in ournorthern colonies is a refinement on theprinciples of resistance; it is thedissidence of dissent, and theprotestantism of the Protestant religion.“It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do,but what humanity, reason and justice tellme I ought to do.”
    • In Burkes view the British government was fighting "theAmerican English" ("our English Brethren in theColonies"), with a German-descended King employing "thehireling sword of German boors and vassals" to destroy thecolonists English liberties. On American independence,Burke wrote: "I do not know how to wish success to thosewhose Victory is to separate from us a large and noble partof our Empire. Still less do I wish success to injustice,oppression and absurdity".Wikipedia
    • In Burkes view the British government was fighting "the AmericanEnglish" ("our English Brethren in the Colonies"), with a German-descended King employing "the hireling sword of German boors andvassals" to destroy the colonists English liberties. On Americanindependence, Burke wrote: "I do not know how to wish success tothose whose Victory is to separate from us a large and noble part ofour Empire. Still less do I wish success to injustice, oppression andabsurdity".Wikipedia
    • II.B.Colonial Policy-2. IrelandMay, 1778-Burke fell out with themerchants of Bristol because headvocated free trade with Irelandlater that year he supported the CatholicRelief Act which reduced the restrictionson Irish Catholicssubject to an oath renouncing Stuart claims,they could own property, inherit land, and jointhe armyhis political enemies began the falsecharges that he was a Jesuit-trainedcrypto-Catholic
    • II.B.Colonial Policy-3. Indian: Hastings’ impeachment1750-of humble origins, Hastings joined HisMajesty’s East India Company (HEIC)he was an able and enlightened administratorand rose to be the first Governor General of aunified Indian Raj. Nevertheless, he followed apattern of profiting from his position.1784-after ten years, he was recalled to faceimpeachment proceedings brought by EdmundBurkeBurke’s speeches began the shift fromexploitation to paternalism as the enlightenedgoal of imperialismWarren Hastings1732 – 1818
    • II.B.Colonial Policy-3. Indian: Hastings’ impeachment1750-of humble origins, Hastings joined HisMajesty’s East India Company (HEIC)he was an able and enlightened administratorand rose to be the first Governor General of aunified Indian Raj. Nevertheless, he followed apattern of profiting from his position.1784-after ten years, he was recalled to faceimpeachment proceedings brought by EdmundBurkeBurke’s speeches began the shift fromexploitation to paternalism as the enlightenedgoal of imperialism1795-after a long and interrupted series oflegal maneuvers, Hastings was acquittedWarren Hastings1732 – 1818
    • II.B.Colonial Policy-4. suppression of the slave trade1788-as the 28-year-old Wilberforce began hislong struggle in Parliament to outlaw thedetestable slave trade, Burke was among hisearliest supportersJosiah Wedgwood created what is probably thefirst iconic image to be used in a politicalmovementWilliam Wilberforce1759 – 1833
    • II.B.Colonial Policy-4. suppression of the slave trade1788-as the 28-year-old Wilberforce began hislong struggle in Parliament to outlaw thedetestable slave trade, Burke was among hisearliest supportersJosiah Wedgwood created what is probably thefirst iconic image to be used in a politicalmovementthe resistance of the West Indian Sugar blocfaction in Parliament was huge, determined, andwell-financed. It delayed victory until long afterBurke’s deathWilliam Wilberforce1759 – 1833
    • Throughout his parliamentary career Burke spoke out for thevictims of cruelty and oppression. Since he was a Whig and a“friend” of the American Revolution, it would be reasonable toexpect him to take a similar stance with those fellow Whigs whocelebrated the fall of the Bastille, July 14, 1789. But within a yearBurke had seen enough to become a most famous enemy of theFrench Revolution.
    • Reflectionson theRevolutioninFrance179017901790179017901790
    • Reflectionson theRevolutioninFrance179017901790179017901790
    • In January 1790, Burke read Dr. Richard Prices sermon of 4 November 1789 to theRevolution Society, called “A Discourse On the Love of our Country.” The RevolutionSociety was founded to commemorate the Glorious Revolution of 1688. In this sermon Priceespoused the philosophy of universal "rights of men". Price argued that love of our country"does not imply any conviction of the superior value of it to other countries, or any particularpreference of its laws and constitution of government". Instead, Englishmen should seethemselves "more as citizens of the world than as members of any particular community".... Priceclaimed that the principles of the Glorious Revolution included "the right to choose our owngovernors, to cashier them for misconduct, and to frame a government for ourselves". Immediatelyafter reading Prices sermon, Burke wrote a draft of what eventually became the Reflections onthe Revolution in France. On 13 February 1790, a notice in the press said that Burke wouldshortly publish a pamphlet on the Revolution and its British supporters, however he spent theyear revising and expanding it.WikipediaWhat provoked Burke?
    • Origin of the Reflections21 January 1790-Burke read Price’s sermonpraising the French RevolutionRichard Price1723 – 1791
    • Origin of the Reflections21 January 1790-Burke read Price’s sermonpraising the French Revolutionnext, a letter from Tom Paine predicted that itwould spread across EuropeTom Paine1737 – 1809
    • Origin of the Reflections21 January 1790-Burke read Price’s sermonpraising the French Revolutionnext, a letter from Tom Paine predicted that itwould spread across Europethis changed Burke’s “wait and see” attitude intopositive scepticism--Clark, p. 63he began an essay in the form of a letter to aFrench friend expressing his concerns about theperils which he saw inherent in eventsthe longer he rewrote, the more French violenceconfirmed his pessimism1 November 1790-The finished essay went toprint and became an immediate best sellerRichard Price1723 – 1791Tom Paine1737 – 1809
    • III. Reflections on the Revolution in FranceA. “metaphysical abstraction”1. “circumstances give...principle...its...effect”B. “cashiering kings”1. servants of the people?2. “the [Glorious] Revolution of 1688”a. object?b. difference from French?C. the British way1. constitutiona. Magna Carta, 1215b. Petition of Right, 1628c. Declaration of Right (Bill of Rights), 16892. societya. organic and “natural”b. intergenerational ties and traditionD. French errors1. material for a British style “reparation”2. two better alternatives3. equality4. the evils of the Revolutiona. poverty, immorality, and irreligionb. counterrevolution building abroadc. Burke’s fallacy of unnatural revolutiond. “church pillaged”e. “paper securities” (assignats)1. instead of “recognized species” (Au & Ag)
    • “I flatter myself that I love a manly, moral, regulated liberty as well asany gentleman of that [Revolution] society, be he who he will; andperhaps I have given as good proofs of my attachment to that cause, inthe whole course of my public conduct….But I cannot stand forward,and give praise or blame to any thing which relates to humanactions...on a simple view of the object, as it stands stripped of everyrelation, in all the nakedness and solitude of a metaphysicalabstraction. Circumstances...give in reality to every political principleits distinguishing colour, and discriminating effect. The circumstancesare what render every...political scheme beneficial or noxious tomankind.”III.A.1.”...metaphysical abstraction…”This and all subsequent quotations from Reflections are taken from Clark, op.cit. He indicates the pages inthe 1790 edition. I will cite those pages as, here,Burke, pp. 7-8
    • Kings, in one sense, are undoubtedly the servants of the people,because their power has no other rational end than that of the generaladvantage; but it is not true that they are, in the ordinary sense, (byour constitution at least), anything like servants; the essence of whosesituation is to obey the commands of some other, and to be removableat pleasure. But the king of Great Britain obeys no other person; allother persons are...under him, and owe to him a legal obedience….The ceremony of cashiering kings, of which these gentlemen talk somuch at their ease, can rarely, if ever, be performed without force.(cont.)* cashier, v. = to dismiss in disgrace, especially from the armed forcesIII.B.1.”...cashiering* kings…”
    • force. (cont.) It then becomes a case of war, and not of constitution.Laws are commanded to hold their tongues amongst arms; andtribunals fall to the ground with the peace they are no longer able touphold. The Revolution of 1688 was obtained by a just war, in theonly case in which any war, and much more a civil war, can be just. “Justabella quibus necessaria.” [Wars are just to those to whom they arenecessary.”] The question of dethroning, or, if these gentlemen likethe phrase better, “cashiering kings,” will always be, as it has alwaysbeen, an extraordinary question of state, and wholly out of the law; aquestion...of dispositions, and of means, and of probableconsequences, rather than of positive rights. As it was not made forcommon abuses, so it is not to be agitated by common minds.III.B.1.”...cashiering* kings…”Burke, pp. 41-43
    • The third...right, asserted by [Price], namely the “right to form agovernment for ourselves,” has, at least, as little countenance fromanything done at the Revolution [of 1688], either in precedent orprinciple, as the two first of their claims [1.“to choose our owngovernors” 2. “to cashier them for misconduct”]. The Revolution wasmade to preserve our ancient, indisputable laws and liberties, and thatancient constitution of government which is our only security for lawand liberty….The very idea of the fabrication of a new government isenough to fill us with disgust and horror.Burke, p. 44III.B.2.”the [Glorious] Revolution of 1688”a. object?a. object?
    • Since Price’s sermon attempted to praise the French revolutionariesfor following Britain’s example during the Glorious Revolution, Burkenow proceeds to show how the two events are polar opposites. First,he will give his interpretation of English history as a gradual, organicmovement towards liberty, always keeping the best of the past:Then he will show how the French have “thrown the baby out with thebath water.”III.B.2.”the [Glorious] Revolution of 1688”b. difference from French?b. difference from French?jbp...that all and singular the rights and liberties asserted and declared, [inthe Bill of Rights of 1689] are the true ancient and indubitable rights andliberties of the people of this kingdom.”Burke, p. 47
    • Our experience of 1787, the Constitutional Convention inPhiladelphia, leads most Americans to think that a constitution mustbe a document, a “supreme Law of the Land”(how our Constitutiondefines itself in Article VI, clause 2).The British have an “unwritten constitution.” Rather, it’s betterthought of as an “uncollected constitution.” A series of historical legallandmarks define what the shape of the British government is. Burkenow recounts this history--[a]Magna Carta, 1215; [b]Petition ofRight, 1628; and [c]Declaration of Right (better known as theEnglish Bill of Rights) 1689.III.C.the British way-1. constitutionjbp
    • III.C.the British way-1. constitutionBurke, p. 47“You will observe that from Magna Charta [sic] to the Declarationof Right, it has been the uniform policy of our constitution to claim andassert our liberties, as an entailed inheritance derived to us from ourforefathers, and to be transmitted to our posterity; as an estatespecially belonging to the people of this kingdom, without anyreference whatever to any other more general or prior right [like“natural rights” or the French “Rights of Man and the Citizen,” jbp].
    • Contemporary Frenchposter listing the Rightsof Mannote the similarity to the tabletsof the ten commandments
    • III.C.the British way-1. constitutionBurke, p. 47“You will observe that from Magna Charta [sic] to the Declarationof Right, it has been the uniform policy of our constitution to claim andassert our liberties, as an entailed inheritance derived to us from ourforefathers, and to be transmitted to our posterity; as an estatespecially belonging to the people of this kingdom, without anyreference whatever to any other more general or prior right [like“natural rights” or the French “Rights of Man and the Citizen,” jbp].“This policy appears to me to be the result of profound reflection; orrather the happy effect of following nature, which is wisdom withoutreflection, and above it. A spirit of innovation is generally the result ofa selfish temper and confined views. People will never look forward toposterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.”
    • Unlike the mechanistic philosophers who saw government as amachine and thought of the job of repairing government as designing abetter mechanical device (Hobbes’ ‘robot’),III.C.the British way-2. society a. organic & naturaljbp
    • Unlike the mechanistic philosophers who saw government as amachine and thought of the job of repairing government as designing abetter mechanical device (Hobbes’ ‘robot’)•, Burke was fond of theanalogy of a living organism. This makes him an organic politicalphilosopher. If a machine is worn out or broken you can simply discardit or replace the broken parts. But if you’re dealing with a livingorganism, a different approach is necessary.III.C.the British way-2. society a. organic & naturaljbp
    • Unlike the mechanistic philosophers who saw government as amachine and thought of the job of repairing government as designing abetter mechanical device (Hobbes’ ‘robot’), Burke was fond of theanalogy of a living organism. This makes him an organic politicalphilosopher. If a machine is worn out or broken you can simply discardit or replace the broken parts. But if you’re dealing with a livingorganism, a different approach is necessary.III.C.the British way-2. society a. organic & naturaljbp
    • “The institutions of policy, the goods of fortune, the gifts ofprovidence, are handed down to us, and from us, in the same courseand order. Our political system is placed in a just correspondence andsymmetry with the order of the world, and with the mode of existencedecreed to a permanent body composed of transitory parts; wherein,by the disposition of a stupendous wisdom [cf. “Nature and Nature’sGod,” jbp], moulding together the great mysterious incorporation ofthe human race, the whole, at one time, is never old, or middleaged, oryoung, but, in a condition of unchangeable constancy, moves onthrough the varied tenor of perpetual decay, fall, renovation, andprogression. (cont.)III.C.the British way-2. society b. intergenerational ties & tradition
    • “... through the varied tenor of perpetual decay, fall, renovation, andprogression. (cont.) Thus, by preserving the method of nature in theconduct of the state, in what we improve, we are never wholly new; inwhat we retain, we are never wholly obsolete….In this choice we havegiven to our frame of polity the image of a relation in blood; binding upthe constitution of our country with our dearest domestic ties;adopting our fundamental laws into the bosom of our family affections;keeping inseparable, and cherishing with the warmth of alltheir...charities, our state, our hearths, our sepulchers, and our altars.”III.C.the British way-2. society b. intergenerational ties & traditionBurke, pp. 48-49
    • III. Reflections on the Revolution in FranceA. “metaphysical abstraction”1. “circumstances give...principle...its...effect”B. “cashiering kings”1. servants of the people?2. “the [Glorious] Revolution of 1688”a. object?b. difference from French?C. the British way1. constitutiona. Magna Carta, 1215b. Petition of Right, 1628c. Declaration of Right (Bill of Rights), 16892. societya. organic and “natural”b. intergenerational ties and traditionD. French errors1. material for a British style “reparation”2. two better alternatives3. equality4. the evils of the Revolutiona. poverty, immorality, and irreligionb. counterrevolution building abroadc. Burke’s fallacy of unnatural revolutiond. “church pillaged”e. “paper securities” (assignats)1. instead of “recognized species” (Au & Ag)
    • “You [in France], if you pleased, might have profited from our example,and have given to your recovered freedom a corresponding dignity.Your privileges, though discontinued [i.e., lost to the absolutism,beginning with Louis xiv] were not lost to memory….you possessed insome parts the walls, and, in all, the foundations. Your constitution wassuspended before it was perfected; but you had the elements of aconstitution very nearly as good as could be wished….You had all these advantages in your ancient states [the EstatesGeneral, which had last met almost two centuries before 1789]; butyou chose to act as if you had never been moulded into civil society,and had everything to begin anew.”III.D.French Errors-1. material for a British style reparationBurke, pp. 50-51
    • [1] “You might have built on those old foundations….Respectingyour forefathers, you would have been taught to respect yourselves….[2] “...or, if diffident of yourselves, and not clearly discerning thealmost obliterated constitution of your ancestors, you had looked toyour neighbors in this land [Britain], who had kept alive the ancientprinciples...of the old common law of Europe meliorated and adaptedto its present state--by following wise examples you would have givennew examples of wisdom to the world…. You would have shameddespotism from the earth....”III.D.French Errors-2. two better alternativesBurke, pp. 50-53
    • “You would have had a free constitution; a potent monarchy, a disciplinedarmy; a reformed and venerated clergy; a mitigated but spirited nobility...; youwould have had a liberal order of commons, to emulate and to recruit thatnobility; you would have had a protected, satisfied, laborious, and obedientpeople, taught to seek...the happiness that is to be found by virtue in allconditions; in which exists the true moral [emphasis added, jbp] equality ofmankind, and not in that monstrous fiction, which, by inspiring false ideas andvain expectations into men destined to travel in the obscure walk of laboriouslife, serves only to aggravate and embitter that real inequality, which it nevercan remove; and which the order of civil life establishes as much for the benefitof those whom it must leave in an humble state, as those whom it is able to exaltto a condition more splendid, but not more happy.”III.D.French Errors-3. equalityBurke, pp. 53-54
    • “Compute your gains: see what is got by those extravagant…speculations….By following those false lights [Burke compares therevolutionary leaders to the false beacons which wreckers would erect tolure coastal ships onto rocks where they might be looted], France hasbought undisguised calamities at a higher price than any nation haspurchased the most unequivocal blessings! [a]France has boughtpoverty by crime! France has not sacrificed her virtue to her interest; butshe has abandoned her interest that she might prostitute hervirtue….France, when she let loose the reins of regal authority, doubledthe license of a ferocious dissoluteness in manners•, and of an insolentirreligion in opinions and practices, and has extended through all ranks oflife...the unhappy corruptions that usually were the disease of wealth andpower.”III.D.French Errors-4. the evils of the RevolutionBurke, pp. 53-54
    • “France, by the perfidy of their leaders, has utterly disgraced the tone oflenient council in the cabinets of princes….She has sanctified the dark,suspicious maxims of tyrannous mistrust and taught kings totremble….Sovereigns will consider those, who advise them to place anunlimited confidence in their people, as subverters of their thrones; astraitors who aim at their destruction….This alone (if there were nothingelse) is an irreparable calamity to you and to mankind.”III.D.4. the evils of the Revolution b. counterrevolution building abroadBurke, p. 55so gradual reform will not occur and kings will become evenmore oppressive
    • “They have seen the French rebel against a mild and lawful monarch,with more fury, outrage, and insult, than ever any people has been knownto rise against the most illegal usurper, or the most sanguinary tyrant.Their resistance was made to concession; their revolt was fromprotection; their blow was aimed at a hand holding out graces, favors andimmunities.“This was unnatural. The rest is in order. They have found theirpunishment in their success”III.D.4. the evils of the Revolution c. Burke’s fallacy of “unnatural revolution”Burke, p. 56Revolution is more likely when regimes start to reform.Tyrants are rarely rebelled against
    • “Laws overturned; tribunals subverted; industry without vigor; commerceexpiring; the revenue unpaid, yet the people impoverished; a churchpillaged, and a state not relieved; civil and military anarchy…;everythinghuman and divine sacrificed to the idol of public credit, and nationalbankruptcy the consequence; and , to crown it all, the paper securities ofa new, precarious, tottering power, the discredited securities ofimpoverished fraud and beggared rapine, held out as a currency for thesupport of an empire,III.D.4. the evils of the Revolution d. “church pillaged” & e. “paper securities”Burke, p. 56
    • “Laws overturned; tribunals subverted; industry without vigor; commerceexpiring; the revenue unpaid, yet the people impoverished; a churchpillaged, and a state not relieved; civil and military anarchy…;everythinghuman and divine sacrificed to the idol of public credit, and nationalbankruptcy the consequence; and , to crown it all, the paper securities•of a new, precarious, tottering power, the discredited securities ofimpoverished fraud and beggared rapine, held out as a currency for thesupport of an empire, in lieu of the two great recognized species [Au &Ag] that represent the lasting, conventional credit of mankind, whichdisappeared and hid themselves in the earth from whence they came….”III.D.4. the evils of the Revolution d. “church pillaged” & e. “paper securities”Burke, p. 56
    • III. Reflections on the Revolution in FranceA. “metaphysical abstraction”B. “cashiering kings”C. the British wayD. French errorsE. National Assembly1. misleading namea. popular selection and merit2. Tiers Etata. what they lackb. history, 1788-90c. lawyersd. “country clowns,” merchants, doctors, financiers, and otherse. differences from House of Commons3. First and Second Estatesa. country curatesb. “discontented men of quality”c. “the first principle...of public affections”?F. Other “pearls”1. “ten thousand swords”2. “half a dozen grasshoppers”3. “a partnership agreement”
    • “This unforced choice, this fond election of evil, would appear perfectlyunaccountable, if we did not consider the composition of the NationalAssembly; I do not mean its formal constitution...but the materials ofwhich it is composed, which is of ten thousand times greater consequencethan all the formalities in the world.”III.E.National Assembly.Burke, p. 581. It sounds great, buta. just because the people have selected its membersdoesn’t make the legislators any wiser than they were tobegin with
    • “This unforced choice, this fond election of evil, would appear perfectlyunaccountable, if we did not consider the composition of the NationalAssembly; I do not mean its formal constitution...but the materials ofwhich it is composed, which is of ten thousand times greater consequencethan all the formalities in the world.”III.E.National Assembly.Burke, p. 58
    • “This unforced choice, this fond election of evil, would appear perfectlyunaccountable, if we did not consider the composition of the NationalAssembly; I do not mean its formal constitution...but the materials ofwhich it is composed, which is of ten thousand times greater consequencethan all the formalities in the world.”III.E.National Assembly.Burke, p. 581. It sounds great, buta. just because the people have selected its membersdoesn’t make the legislators any wiser than they were tobegin with
    • “After I had read over the list of the persons and descriptions electedinto the Tiers Etat, nothing which they did afterwards could appearastonishing. Among them, indeed, I saw some of known rank; some ofshining talents; but of any practical experience in the state, not one manwas to be found”III.E.National Assembly. 2. Tiers EtatBurke, p. 59a. what they lack--experience in governingb. since the 3rdwas = to both the 1st& 2ndcombined, theycame to predominate
    • “After I had read over the list of the persons and descriptions electedinto the Tiers Etat, nothing which they did afterwards could appearastonishing. Among them, indeed, I saw some of known rank; some ofshining talents; but of any practical experience in the state, not one manwas to be found”III.E.National Assembly. 2. Tiers EtatBurke, p. 59
    • “After I had read over the list of the persons and descriptions electedinto the Tiers Etat, nothing which they did afterwards could appearastonishing. Among them, indeed, I saw some of known rank; some ofshining talents; but of any practical experience in the state, not one manwas to be found”III.E.National Assembly. 2. Tiers EtatBurke, p. 59a. what they lack--experience in governingb. since the 3rdwas = to both the 1st& 2ndcombined, theycame to predominate
    • “Judge, sir, of my surprize, when I found that a very greatproportion...was composed of practitioners of the law. It was composednot of distinguished magistrates...not of leading advocates, the glory ofthe bar…;--but...of the inferior, unlearned, mechanical, merely instrumentalmembers of the profession….the fomentors and conductors of the pettywar of village vexation. From the moment I read the list I saw distinctly,and very nearly as it happened, all that was to follow….“Who could flatter himself that these men, suddenly, and, as it were, byenchantment, snatched from the humblest rank of subordination, wouldnot be intoxicated with their unprepared greatness?”III.E.National Assembly. 2. Tiers Etat c. lawyersBurke, p. 61
    • “Judge, sir, of my surprize, when I found that a very greatproportion...was composed of practitioners of the law. It was composednot of distinguished magistrates...not of leading advocates, the glory ofthe bar…;--but...of the inferior, unlearned, mechanical, merely instrumentalmembers of the profession….the fomentors and conductors of the pettywar of village vexation. From the moment I read the list I saw distinctly,and very nearly as it happened, all that was to follow….“Who could flatter himself that these men, suddenly, and, as it were, byenchantment, snatched from the humblest rank of subordination, wouldnot be intoxicated with their unprepared greatness?”III.E.National Assembly. 2. Tiers Etat c. lawyersBurke, p. 61
    • “Well! but these men were to be tempered and restrained by otherdescriptions, of more sober minds, and more enlarged understandings.Were they then to be awed by the...awful dignity of a handful of countryclowns [peasant farmers] who have seats in the assembly, some of whomare said not to be able to read and write? and by not a greater number oftraders, who, though somewhat more instructed, ...had never known anything beyond their counting house? No! both these descriptions weremore formed to be overborne and swayed by the intrigues and artificesof lawyers, than to become their counterpoise”III.E.National Assembly. 2. Tiers Etat d. “countryclowns,” merchants, doctors, financiers and othersBurke, pp. 63-64
    • “We know that the British house of commons, without shutting itsdoors to any merit in any class, is, by the sure operation of adequatecauses, filled with every thing illustrious in rank, in descent, in hereditaryand in acquired opulence, in cultivated talents, in military, civil, naval, andpolitic distinction, that the country can afford”III.E.National Assembly. 2. Tiers Etat e.differences from the House of CommonsBurke, pp. 64-65
    • “We know that the British house of commons, without shutting itsdoors to any merit in any class, is, by the sure operation of adequatecauses, filled with every thing illustrious in rank, in descent, in hereditaryand in acquired opulence, in cultivated talents, in military, civil, naval, andpolitic distinction, that the country can afford”III.E.National Assembly. 2. Tiers Etat e.differences from the House of CommonsBurke, pp. 64-65
    • III.E.National Assembly. 3. First and Second EstatesBurke, p. 67a. country curates
    • “Having considered the composition of the third estate…, I took a viewof the representatives of the clergy. There too it appeared, that full aslittle regard was had to the general security of property, or to theaptitude of the deputies for their public purposes, in the principles oftheir election. That election was so contrived as to send a very largeproportion of mere country curates to the great and arduous work ofnew-modeling a state;...men who knew nothing of the world beyond thebounds of an obscure village; who, immersed in hopeless poverty, couldregard all property, whether secular or ecclesiastical, with no other eyethan that of envy….Instead of balancing the power of the active chicanersin the other assembly….”III.E.National Assembly. 3. First and Second EstatesBurke, p. 67a. country curates
    • “This preponderating weight being added to the force of the bodychicane in the Tiers Etat, completed the momentum of ignorance,rashness, presumption, and lust of plunder, which nothing has been able toresist.”Burke, p. 68
    • III.E.National Assembly. 3. First and Second Estatesb. “discontented men of quality” & c. “the first principle...of public affections”Honoré Gabriel Riqueticomte de Mirabeau1749-1791(The Bill Clinton of theRevolution)(The Bill Clinton of the Revolution)
    • “[in the Second Estate, the nobility] Turbulent, discontented men ofquality, in proportion as they are puffed up with personal pride andarrogance, generally despise their own order. One of the first symptomsthey discover of a selfish and mischievous ambition, is a profligatedisregard of a dignity which they partake with others. To be attached tothe subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is [c] thefirst principle ( the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first linkin the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country and tomankind.”III.E.National Assembly. 3. First and Second EstatesBurke, pp. 68-69b. “discontented men of quality” & c. “the first principle...of public affections”
    • It is now sixteen or seventeen years[1773] since I [age 44]saw thequeen of France [age 18], then the Dauphiness, at Versailles; andsurely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, amore delightful vision.III.F.Other Pearls-1.”...ten thousand swords…”
    • It is now sixteen or seventeen years[1773] since I [age 44]saw thequeen of France [age 18], then the Dauphiness, at Versailles; andsurely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, amore delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating andcheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in,--glittering likethe morning-star, full of life and splendor and joy. Oh! what arevolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate that elevationand that fall! Little did I dream when she added titles of veneration tothose of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever beobliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in thatbosom! (cont.)III.F.Other Pearls-1.”...ten thousand swords…”
    • antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom! (cont.) little did Idream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in anation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor, and of cavaliers! Ithought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbardsto avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age ofchivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators hassucceeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever….III.F.1.”...ten thousand swords…”Burke, pp. 112-113
    • the Queen’s Bedchamber
    • the Queen’s Bedchamber
    • the Queen’s Bedchamber
    • The memorable day at Versailles, Monday 5 October 1789The memorable day at Versailles, Monday 5 October 1789In this general riot, several bodyguards have been massacred; two among themIn this general riot, several bodyguards have been massacred; two among themwere decapitated and their heads carried in triumph by this same people, friendwere decapitated and their heads carried in triumph by this same people, friendof national libertyof national liberty
    • Our Modern Amazons, glorious for their victories, return on horse and upon cannons, with several good men ofOur Modern Amazons, glorious for their victories, return on horse and upon cannons, with several good men ofthe National Guard, holding poplar branches to the repeated cries of Vive la Nation, Vive le Roithe National Guard, holding poplar branches to the repeated cries of Vive la Nation, Vive le Roi
    • This orgy of disrespect for the monarchy was “the last straw” toBurke. Much of the venomous emotion which colors his prose stemsfrom this episode.jbp
    • “The vanity, restlessness, petulance, and spirit of intrigue, of severalpetty cabals, who attempt to hide their total want of consequence inbustle and noise, and puffing, and mutual quotations of each other,makes you imagine that our contemptuous neglect of their abilities is amark of general acquiescence in their opinions….Because half a dozengrasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunatechink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow ofthe British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine thatthose who make the noise (cont.)III.F.2.”...half a dozen grasshoppers…”
    • silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise (cont.) arethe only inhabitants of the field; that, of course, they are many innumber; or that, after all, they are other than the little, shriveled,meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome, insects of the hour….”III.F.2.”...half a dozen grasshoppers…”Burke, pp. 126-127
    • “Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects ofmere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure; but the stateought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnershipagreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco, or someother such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest,and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to be looked onwith other reverence; because it is not a partnership in thingssubservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary andperishable nature (cont.)III.F.3.”...a partnership agreement…”
    • existence of a temporary and perishable nature (cont.) It is apartnership in all science, a partnership in all art, a partnership in everyvirtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannotbe obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not onlybetween those who are living, but between those who are living, thosewho are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of eachparticular state is but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternalsociety, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visibleand invisible world….”III.F.3.”...a partnership agreement…”Burke, pp. 143-144
    • Criticism
    • CriticismHanna Pitkin1931-T. B. Macaulay1800-1859Sir Philip Francis1740-1818Thomas Paine1737-1809Russell Kirk1918-1994Winston Churchill1874-1965Lord Acton1834-1902
    • IV. CriticismA. Historical Critics1. 18thcentury2. 19thcentury3. 20thcenturyB. Criticism from Justice & Power, 19771. historic vision2. Burke’s role in history3. rejection of systematic or abstract doctrines4. Nature and God5. change6. reason and emotion7. validity of status, hierarchy and tradition
    • IV.A.1-Thomas Paine Rights of Man, 1791sent to the printer three monthsafter Burke’s Reflections appearedMarch, 1791-Paine, who had beenin London since 1787, fled toFrance as he was charged withseditious libelFeb, 1792-undeterred by theBritish government’s campaign todiscredit him , he issued a Rights ofMan, Part the Second
    • IV.A.1-Thomas Paine Rights of Man, 1791sent to the printer three monthsafter Burke’s Reflections appearedMarch, 1791-Paine, who had beenin London since 1787, fled toFrance as he was charged withseditious libelFeb, 1792-undeterred by theBritish government’s campaign todiscredit him , he issued a Rights ofMan, Part the SecondSatirist James Gilray respondedwith a famous poster
    • Cartoon showing Britannia clasping trunk of a large oak, while Thomas Paine tugs with both hands at her stay laces, hisfoot on her posterior. From his coat pocket protrudes a pair of scissors and a tape inscribed: Rights of Man. Behind him isa thatched cottage inscribed: Thomas Pain, Staymaker from Thetford. Paris Modes, by express.Published by H. Humphrey, 1793.
    • The most famous passage in Burkes Reflections was his description of theevents of 5–6 October 1789 and Marie Antoinettes part in them. Burkesaccount differs little from modern historians who have used primary sources.His use of flowery language to describe it, however, provoked both praiseand criticism. Philip Francis [his friend and ally in the Hastings impeachment]wrote to Burke saying that what he wrote of Marie Antoinette was "purefoppery". Edward Gibbon however reacted differently: "I adore his chivalry".WikiIV.A.1-18thcentury--Philip Francis1740-1818
    • Macaulay recorded in his diary: "I have now finished reading againmost of Burkes works. Admirable! The greatest man sinceMilton".Thomas Babington Macaulay,as quoted in WikiIV.A.2-19thcentury1800-1859
    • The Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli "was deeplypenetrated with the spirit and sentiment of Burkes laterwritings".The Liberal Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstoneconsidered Burke "a magazine of wisdom on Ireland and America"and in his diary recorded: "Made many extracts from Burke—sometimes almost divine".WikiIV.A.2-Gladstone1809-1898Disraeli1804-1881
    • The Liberal historian Lord Acton considered Burke one of thethree greatest liberals, along with William Gladstone and ThomasBabington Macaulay..WikiIV.A.2-19thcent1834-1902
    • On the one hand [Burke] is revealed as a foremost apostle of Liberty, on theother as the redoubtable champion of Authority. But a charge of politicalinconsistency applied to this life appears a mean and petty thing. History easilydiscerns the reasons and forces which actuated him, and the immense changes inthe problems he was facing which evoked from the same profound mind andsincere spirit these entirely contrary manifestations. His soul revolted againsttyranny, whether it appeared in the aspect of a domineering Monarch and acorrupt Court and Parliamentary system, or whether, mouthing the watch-wordsof a non-existent liberty, it towered up against him in the dictation of a brutal moband wicked sect. No one can read the Burke of Liberty and the Burke ofAuthority without feeling that here was the same man pursuing the same ends,seeking the same ideals of society and Government, and defending them fromassaults, now from one extreme, now from the other.Winston Churchill, in “Consistency in Politics”,as quoted in WikiIV.A.3-20thcentury1874-1965
    • Russell Kirk was an American political theorist, moralist, historian,social critic, literary critic, and fiction author known for his influence on20th century American conservatism. His 1953 book, The ConservativeMind, gave shape to the amorphous post–World War II conservativemovement. It traced the development of conservative thought in theAnglo-American tradition, giving special importance to the ideas ofEdmund Burke. Kirk was also considered the chief proponent oftraditionalist conservatism.--WikiIV.A.3-20thcentury1918-1994
    • Burke was a leading skeptic with respect to democracy.... He opposeddemocracy for three basic reasons. First, government required a degree ofintelligence and breadth of knowledge of the sort that was very uncommonamong the common people. Second he thought that common people haddangerous and angry passions that could be easily aroused by demagoguesif they had the vote; he feared the authoritarian impulses that could beempowered by these passions would undermine cherished traditions andestablished religion, leading to violence and confiscation of property.Thirdly, Burke warned that democracy would tyrannize unpopular minoritieswho needed the protection of the upper classes.Hanna Pitkin, Cal Berkeley, as quoted in WikiIV.A.3-20thcentury
    • “Burke’s language seemed extreme; it was soon to seem prophetic.”--J.C.D.Clark, ed. op. cit,. p. 77IV.B.1.historic visionTwo years before the guillotine came to symbolize the worst excesses ofthe Terror Burke wrote:“On the scheme of this barbarous philosophy, which is theoffspring of cold hearts and muddy understandings...laws are to besupported only by their own terrors….In the groves of theiracademy, at the end of every visto [sic], you see nothing but thegallows.”(cont.)Burke, p. 115
    • IV.B.1.historic vision (cont.)Nine years before Napoleon came to power Burke wrote:“In the weakness of one kind of authority, and in the fluctuation of all, theofficers of the army will remain… mutinous...until some popular general, whounderstands the art of conciliating the soldiery, and who possesses thetrue spirit of command, shall draw the eyes of all men upon himself. Armieswill obey him on his personal account….But the moment in which that eventshall happen, the person who really commands the army is your master;The master (that is little)of your king,the master of your assembly, themaster of your whole republic.Everything depends upon the army in such a government as yours; foryou have industriously destroyed...all the instincts which supportgovernment….you must have recourse to force. Nothing else is left to you;or rather you have left nothing else to yourselves.Burke, pp. 317-318
    • IV.B.1.historic vision (concluded)“...the force of Burke’s analysis for his contemporaries derived not justfrom his rhetorical skill, but from the way in which his strangely hauntingintuitions were apparently realised [sic] in years to come.”Clark, p. 84
    • Burke is regarded by most political experts in the English-speaking world asthe father of modern English conservatism. His liberal conservatism favouredgradual reform over government based on abstract ideas and can be contrastedwith the autocratic conservatism of continental figures such as Joseph deMaistre.--WikiIV.B.2.Burke’s role in historyHis stands on so many of the questions of his day appear, in retrospect, to havebeen on the ‘right side’ of history. He warned against the British oppression ofIreland, the short-sighted policies against British North America, the wickednessof the slave trade. But, long before men as wise as Jefferson, he saw the dangersof the French Revolution. Most people have come to regard the spuriousquotation, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil…” as emblematic of hiswisdom.jbp
    • IV.B.3.rejection of systematic or abstract doctrinesOn page 7, Burke wrote:“...all the nakedness and solitude of metaphysical abstraction.”In Clark’s critical edition, he notes:“...Burke certainly came to use the term ‘metaphysics’ in aderogatory sense for the doctrines associated with the FrenchRevolution, e.g., Reflections, pp. [86, 90, 134, 272-4, 313, 321,325, 344, 348].”Clark, p. 151 , note 20
    • IV.B.4.Nature and GodAlthough many 18thcentury Deists tended to use Nature (with thecapitaL ‘N’) as a sort of code word for God, this was not Burke’s usage.He was an Anglican and events as well as his own maturing tended tomove him towards more orthodox views about the workings of DivineProvidence in history. Capitalization tended to be more idiosyncratic inhis time. Witness our Declaration of Independence.jbp
    • IV.B.5.changeOn page 30 Burke expressed his views on change:jbpA state without the means of some change is without the means of itsconservation….The two principles of conservation and correctionoperated strongly at the two critical periods of the Restoration andRevolution, when England found itself without a king. At both thoseperiods the nation had lost the bond of union in their ancient edifice; theydid not, however, dissolve the whole fabric.Only reactionaries oppose all change.Conservatives accept the need for correction but they placeconservation ahead of it (as in the sentence above) and believe that it ispossible to do both.
    • IV.B.6. reason and emotionWhat made Burke such an effective advocate, then and now, was hisability to combine both of these ‘tools’ in his rhetorical arguments.jbp
    • “Because of [Burke’s] conviction that people desire to be ruled and controlled,the division of property formed the basis for social structure, helping developcontrol within a property-based hierarchy.”--WikiIV.B.7.validity of status, hierarchy and tradition“Thanks to our sullen resistance to innovation, thanks to the coldsluggishness of our national character, we still bear the stamp of ourforefathers. We have not (as I conceive) lost the generosity and dignityof thinking of the fourteenth century; nor as yet have we subtilizedourselves into savages. We are not the converts of Rousseau; we are notthe disciples of Voltaire….”Burke, p. 127
    • Burke denounced what he considered to be the evils of theRevolution and prophesied rather well how it would plunge firstFrance, then Europe, into bloodshed--driven by the most remarkablemilitary dictator the world had ever seen.For much of the next century the forces of reaction tried to containthe energies of the Industrial Revolution. Then a prophet would ariseto inspire the greatest revolution the world had ever seen.But, that’s another story...