When is a revolution not a revolution? Edmund Burke and the new America

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was an Irish statesman, author and orator, chiefly remembered for his championing of various causes such as Catholic emancipation, reform of the government of India and
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Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was an Irish statesman, author, and orator chiefly remembered for his championing of various causes such as Catholic emancipation, reform of the government of India, and preserving the balance of the British constitution. It is commonly assumed that Edmund Burke took up incongruous positions on the American and French Revolutions: that he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Americans, and a bitter opponent of the French. Much ingenuity was expended by Burke’s contemporaries and others since, in seeking to explain this seemingly considerable change in his political beliefs — a shift to the right, from Whiggism towards a more conservative stance. Burke’s speeches provide an interesting window into this apparent volte-face, with Burke himself denying that there had been any such change. In his Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs of 1791, he wrote of himself in the third person that “if he could venture to value himself upon anything, it is on the virtue. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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