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

By J. W. Burrow

The belief of a 'Whig interpretation' of English heritage contains the 2 primary notions of development and continuity. the previous made it attainable to learn English background as a 'success story', the latter counseled a practical, gradualist political sort because the origin of English freedom. Dr Burrow's booklet discover those principles, and the tensions among them in reviews of 4 significant Victorian historians: Macaulay, Stubbs, Freeman and (as whatever of an anti kind) Froude. It analyses their works by way of 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 e-book additionally seeks to set up the importance for the Victorians of 3 nice crises of English historical past - the Norman conquest, the reformation and the revolution of the 17th century - and the character and boundaries of the self-confidence they have been capable of derive from the nationwide earlier. The e-book will curiosity scholars and academics engaged on nineteenth-century English background, literature or social and political concept, the heritage of principles, and criminal and constitutional background. it is going to even be of price to the final reader drawn to Victorian literature and cultural background.

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Additional resources for A Liberal Descent: Victorian historians and the English past

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There must be a line of essential constitutional practice and theory, intermittently interrupted though it may have been; and that line must exhibit constitutional liberty and representative government. When we turn to the English historians, we again find, not surprisingly no doubt, that just as the sociological bent of the Scots did not relieve them from the standard partialities of the Whig view, the English historians, or some of them, have learnt from Hume a certain guardedness, albeit unwillingly.

80 View, ii. 3*3. '81 To emphasise both the inclusiveness and the providential uniqueness of that communion was the central impetus of Hallam's History. It is for that reason that Magna Carta is so important to him; it is the first 'national' event; it is for the same reason that he dwells proudly on the absence of legal distinction between gentry and freemen. 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.

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. 344; Cf. History, Works, i. 1. ), Collected Works of Walter Bagehot, 8 vols, i (1965), 400; Cf. Sir Charles Firth, A Commentary on Macaulay's History of England (1964), p. 275. 6 Clive, Macaulay. Preface to 'Speeches' (1853), Works, viii. 5. 7 Least of all do we need the caveat in discussing Macaulay's conception of English constitutional history, for there are here no signs of any fundamental change; only of changes, at the most, of emphasis, and a voice modulating from strident to sonorous.

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