Russell Kirk was a leading figure in the post-World War II revival of American interest in Edmund Burke. Today, no one who takes seriously the problems of society dares remain indifferent to “the first conservative of our time of troubles.” In Russell Kirk’s words: “Burke’s ideas interest anyone nowadays, including men bitterly dissenting from his conclusions. If conservatives would know what they defend, Burke is their touchstone; and if radicals wish to test the temper of their opposition, they should turn to Burke.”
Kirk lucidly unfolds Burke’s philosophy, showing how it revealed itself in concrete historical situations during the eighteenth century and how Burke, through his philosophy, “speaks to our age.” This volume makes vivid the four great struggles in the life of Burke: his efforts to reconcile England with the American colonies; his involvements in cutting down the domestic power of George III; his prosecution of Warren Hastings, the Governor General of India; and his resistance to Jacobinism, the French Revolution’s “armed doctrine.” In each of these great phases of his public life, Burke fought with passionate eloquence and relentless logic for justice and for the proper balance of order and freedom. With sure instinct born of his sympathy and understanding, Kirk gives us the incisive quotation, the illuminating highlight, the moving, all-too-human elements that bring Burke and his age to vivid life.
Thanks to Russell Kirk’s skillful evocations, Edmund Burke in these pages becomes our contemporary. “Because corruption and fanaticism assail our era as sorely as they did Burke’s time, the resonance of Burke’s voice still is heard amidst the howl of our winds of abstract doctrine.”
Burke ranked among the era's most eloquent defenders of democracy; however, he also realized the dangers of unchecked liberty and that mob rule is in no way better than the reign of a king or dictator. His lucid and passionate manifesto, written in the form of letters, employs examples from the aftermath of the French Revolution to demonstrate the superiority of gradual political change over outright anti-authoritarian revolt. A believer in practicality rather than abstract theorizing, Burke articulates a defense of property, religion, and traditional values that continues to resonate with twenty-first century readers.
* Beautifully illustrated with images relating to Burke’s life and works
* Concise introductions to the major works
* Rare pamphlets and political works, not available in other collections
* Includes ‘The Reformer’ articles, published when Burke was eighteen-years old — first time in digital print
* Images of how the books were first published, giving your eReader a taste of the original texts
* Excellent formatting of the texts
* Includes Burke’s letters and speeches - spend hours exploring the statesman’s diverse works
* Features two biographies - discover Burke’s literary life
* Scholarly ordering of texts into chronological order and literary genres
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A VINDICATION OF NATURAL SOCIETY
A PHILOSOPHICAL ENQUIRY INTO THE ORIGIN OF OUR IDEAS OF THE SUBLIME AND BEAUTIFUL
AN ACCOUNT OF THE EUROPEAN SETTLEMENTS IN AMERICA
AN ESSAY TOWARDS AN ABRIDGEMENT OF THE ENGLISH HISTORY
A SHORT ACCOUNT OF A LATE SHORT ADMINISTRATION
OBSERVATIONS ON A LATE STATE OF THE NATION
THOUGHTS ON THE CAUSE OF THE PRESENT DISCONTENTS
THE LETTERS OF VALENS
REPORT FROM THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INDIA
A REPRESENTATION TO HIS MAJESTY, MOVED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
ARTICLES OF CHARGE OF HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS AGAINST WARREN HASTINGS, ESQUIRE
REFLECTIONS ON THE REVOLUTION IN FRANCE
APPEAL FROM THE NEW TO THE OLD WHIGS
THOUGHTS ON FRENCH AFFAIRS
THOUGHTS ON THE PROSPECT OF A REGICIDE PEACE
THREE MEMORIALS ON FRENCH AFFAIRS
THOUGHTS AND DETAILS ON SCARCITY
THE CATHOLIC CLAIMS
LIST OF SPEECHES
LIST OF LETTERS
INTRODUCTION TO EDMUND BURKE by Sidney Carleton Newsom
EDMUND BURKE by John Morley
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The beautiful, according to Burke, comprises that which is well formed and aesthetically pleasing. The sublime, on the other hand, possesses the power to compel and destroy. This distinction bears a noteworthy historical relevance, since the popular preference for the sublime rather than the beautiful indicates the transition from the Neoclassical to the Romantic era. Burke's dissertation is both a precursor of his later political writings and one of the first major works in European literature to explore the concept of the sublime—a topic as fascinating to eighteenth-century thinkers as it is to modern philosophers and critics.
As Norman reveals, Burke was often ahead of his time, anticipating the abolition of slavery and arguing for free markets, equality for Catholics in Ireland, responsible government in India, and more. He was not always popular in his own lifetime, but his ideas about power, community, and civic virtue have endured long past his death. Indeed, Burke engaged with many of the same issues politicians face today, including the rise of ideological extremism, the loss of social cohesion, the dangers of the corporate state, and the effects of revolution on societies. He offers us now a compelling critique of liberal individualism, and a vision of society based not on a self-interested agreement among individuals, but rather on an enduring covenant between generations.
Burke won admirers in the American colonies for recognizing their fierce spirit of liberty and for speaking out against British oppression, but his greatest triumph was seeing through the utopian aura of the French Revolution. In repudiating that revolution, Burke laid the basis for much of the robust conservative ideology that remains with us to this day: one that is adaptable and forward-thinking, but also mindful of the debt we owe to past generations and our duty to preserve and uphold the institutions we have inherited. He is the first conservative.
A rich, accessible, and provocative biography, Edmund Burke describes Burke’s life and achievements alongside his momentous legacy, showing how Burke’s analytical mind and deep capacity for empathy made him such a vital thinker—both for his own age, and for ours.
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.
Throughout, Maciag is sensitive to the relationship between American opinions about Burke and the changing circumstances of American life. The dynamic tension between conservative and liberal attitudes in American society surfaced in debates over the French Revolution, Jacksonian democracy, Gilded Age values, Progressive reform, Cold War anticommunism, and post-1960s liberalism. The post-World War II rediscovery of Burke by New Conservatives and their adoption of him as the "father of conservatism" provided an intellectual foundation for the conservative ascendancy of the late twentieth century. Highlighting the Burkean influence on such influential writers as George Bancroft, E. L. Godkin, and Russell Kirk, Maciag also explores the underappreciated impact of Burke's thought on four U.S. presidents: John Adams and John Quincy Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson. Through close and keen readings of political speeches, public lectures, and works of history and political theory and commentary, Maciag offers a sweeping account of the American political scene over two centuries.
Directly opposed to this renewed "utilitarian" interpretation of Burke is Joseph Pappin's work The Metaphysics of Edmund Burke. Not only does this work challenge the "utilitarian" view of Burke, it sets out, as not other work on Burke has attempted to do, "to make explicit the implicit metaphysical core of Burke's political thought." Pappin does this by examining both Burke's critics and Burke's own attack on a rationalist, ideologically inspired metaphysics. Drawing from Burke's vast writings, Pappin establishes as his goal "to demonstrate that Burke's political philosophy is grounded in a realist metaphysic, one that is basically consonant with the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition." Does the author succeed? According to Francis Canavan, in his Foreword to this work, the "explanatory key" of a realist metaphysics grounding Burke's politics "is a key that fits the lock better than any other that scholars have offered." Canavan further holds that the author offers "us a more thorough analysis of Burke's understanding of God, the creation, nature, man, and society than has previously appeared."
This study projects a new profile of Burke which challenges C.B. Macpherson's sketch of him as a bourgeois capitalist, or, as depicted by J.B. Plumb and Frank O'Gorman, as a hired philsopher of the Whig Oligarchy. Nor does Canavan's study present the philosopher as one who would "declare war on the poor," as Gertrude Himmelfarb charged in her The Idea of Poverty. Burke emerges from Canavan's treatment as a Whiug who admired paternalistic government by the rich and virtuous whom he felt would govern as trustees for the benefit of the whole people. Burke did not support the notion that property by monopolized by any one class in society, but wanted the wealthy to empower intermediary institutions which would hold in check the control of the expansive state, whether that meant the Crown in Britain or the revolutionary state in France.
This is an important contribution for scholars and readers interested in questions of orientalism and empire, colonialism and modernity, and the invention of traditions.
"The main purpose of these selections," Stanlis explains, "is to present extensive and in the main unbroken samples of Burke's most representative thought in his most characteristic style, on a great variety of subjects."
In this major effort you can find--to name only a few topics covered--Burke's defense of ordered liberty, his advocacy of secure property rights, his love of Christianity and Europe's moral tradition, and his impassioned jeremiad against the orgy of destruction that the French Revolution became. Stanlis's general introduction gives important insight into Burke's early life, education, professional training, literary and political career, prose style, political philosophy, and more. In addition, each selection is preceded by a headnote that clarifies the selections in their historical context and includes a brief analytical interpretation. A chronology highlights important dates in Burke's life and career.
In its compactness and comprehensiveness, this volume is the quintessential Burke reader. It will be of interest to historians, political scientists, and students of literature and intellectual history.
The book's opening essay describes the life of Edmund Burke, showing how his writings and actions related to the main issues of the time, where the chronology lists events important to this situation. Section one, Manuscript and Archival Resources, sites the location of relevant collections, indicates those of greatest importance, and lists both guides to collections and contemporary periodicals. Bibliographies, biographies, and studies of Burke's political thought appear in the second section, while the tertiary section covers Burke's own writings. Contemporaries of Burke are covered in section four. His political background is examined in the fifth section, and the following chapters cover places associated with Burke, his speeches, contemporary portraits and caricatures, periodicals, and his life and career. Author, artist, and subject indexes conclude the work.