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

By J. W. Burrow

The assumption of a 'Whig interpretation' of English heritage accommodates the 2 basic notions of growth and continuity. the previous made it attainable to learn English background as a 'success story', the latter recommended a realistic, gradualist political variety because the starting place of English freedom. Dr Burrow's ebook discover those rules, and the tensions among them in experiences 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 particular 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 background - the Norman conquest, the reformation and the revolution of the 17th century - and the character and boundaries of the self-confidence they have been in a position to derive from the nationwide earlier. The ebook will curiosity scholars and lecturers engaged on nineteenth-century English background, literature or social and political inspiration, the background of principles, and criminal and constitutional historical past. it is going to even be of worth to the final reader attracted to Victorian literature and cultural historical past.

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344. Macaulay: progress and piety 39 The similarities, indeed the debts - particularly in the first chapter of Macaulay's History — to Hallam, are obvious enough. 13 Hallam's reverent gratitude for a heritage of constitutional freedom, reconciling liberty with order, was something Macaulay enthusiastically shared; Hallam would find no difficulty in admitting him to the communion rail. For both, to be English was to belong to a people privileged in its history and worthy of its privilege. The chief point on which Macaulay takes issue with Hallam in his review of the latter's History is his unsympathetic treatment of the more radical and undeniably innovative measures of the Long Parliament in 1642, in particular the proposal to assume control of the militia, and the Nineteen Propositions.

Hallam's sympathies were with Clarendon and the Parliamentarians who changed sides at that point; Macaulay's were resolutely with the Parliamentary leaders. 14 It is easy to see this difference of view as a reflection of the younger man's radicalism compared with Hallam's caution. In 1825, when Macaulay wrote his essay on Milton, or in 1828, when he wrote his review of Hallam, this may indeed be correct, though it will hardly, as we shall see later, account for the differences in the treatment - Macaulay's, of course, written much later —of 1688 in their respective histories.

CHAPTER 3 Macaulay: progress and piety The sociology of liberty Macaulay's conception of the historian's opportunities was, as is well known, a deliberately extended one. Though he admired Tacitus and almost idolised Thucydides, it was to the narrative and descriptive precedents of the novel, and particularly the work of Scott,1 that he most turned for examples of what a modern historian might accomplish. If he did not altogether succeed in fulfilling the programme he sketched for the ideal historian to follow,2 the attempt, as made, was not simply a matter of applying surface colour.

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