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Delivered at Cambridge University between 1895 and 1899, Lectures on the French Revolution is a distinguished account of the entire epochal chapter in French experience by one of the most remarkable English historians of the nineteenth century. In contrast to Burke a century before, Acton leaves condemnation of the French Revolution to others. He provides a disciplined, thorough, and elegant history of the actual events of the bloody episode—in sum, as thorough a record as could be constructed in his time of the actual actions of the government of France during the Revolution. There are twenty-two essays, commencing with “The Heralds of the Revolution,” in which Acton presents a taxonomy of the intellectual ferment that preceded—and prepared—the Revolution. An important appendix explores “The Literature of the Revolution.” Here Acton offers assessments of the accounts of the Revolution written during the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries by, among others, Burke, Guizot, and Taine.
Kenneth Minogue offers a brilliant and provocative exploration of liberalism in the Western world today: its roots and its influences, its present state, and its prospects in the new century. The Liberal Mind limns the taxonomy of a way of thinking that constitutes the very consciousness of most people in most Western countries.
While few—especially in America—embrace the description of liberal, still, Minogue argues, most Americans and most Europeans behave as liberals. At least they are the heirs of what Minogue describes as "the triumph of an enlarged, flexible, and pragmatic version of liberalism."
But what, precisely, is liberalism? Or, more accurately, can liberalism be defined precisely? Minogue attempts to answer both questions. "The Liberal Mind attempts to uncover the philosophy of liberalism and lay bare its implications. What is Man? How does he think and feel? What is the place of Reason in human affairs? How should men live? What is politics, and what is it for? These are the questions which liberalism both asks and answers. The answers supply a technique of living, which is a utilitarian moral guide: yet the great advantage claimed for this code is that it is scientific. Because of this claim, liberalism is forced into a series of moral and political evasions, both doctrines and emotional habits of thought. These are dissected in The Liberal Mind."
The past two centuries have been characterized, in the West at least, by "the fury of old ideological battles . . . such as: A planned economy, or free enterprise? Individual thrift, or social services? Free trade, or protection?" These battles have largely been completed—and, many would say, have been won by the champions of, respectively, free enterprise, individual thrift, and free trade.
By examining the larger implications of the concept of liberalism, Minogue offers fresh perspective on the political currents that continue to shape governments and policy in the Western world.
Kenneth Minogue is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of London.
Liberty and Order is an ambitious anthology of primary source writings: letters, circulars, debate transcriptions, House proceedings, and newspaper articles that document the years during which America’s founding generation divided over the sort of country the United States was to become.
The founders’ arguments over the proper construction of the new Constitution, the political economy, the appropriate level of popular participation in a republican polity, foreign policy, and much else, not only contributed crucially to the shaping of the nineteenth-century United States, but also have remained of enduring interest to all historians of republican liberty.
This anthology makes it possible to understand the grounds and development of the great collision, which pitted John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and others who called themselves Federalists or, sometimes, the friends of order, against the opposition party led by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and their followers, in what emerged as the Jeffersonian Republican Party.
Editor Lance Banning provides the reader with original-source explanations of early anti-Federalist feeling and Federalist concerns, beginning with the seventh letter from the “Federal Farmer,” in which the deepest fears of many opponents of the Constitution were expressed. He then selects from the House proceedings concerning the Bill of Rights and makes his way toward the public debates concerning the massive revolutionary debt acquired by the United States. The reader is able to examine the American reaction to the French Revolution and to the War of 1812, and to explore the founders’ disagreements over both domestic and foreign policy. The collection ends on a somewhat melancholy note with the correspondence of Jefferson and Adams, who were, to some extent, reconciled to each other at the end of their political careers. Brief, elucidatory headnotes place both the novice and the expert in the midst of the times.
With this significant new collection, the reader receives a deeper understanding of the complex issues, struggles, and personalities that made up the first great party battle and that continue to shape our representative government today.
Lance Banning (1942-2006) was Professor of History at the University of Kentucky, where he had taught since 1973, and was the 2000/2001 Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. He was also coeditor of the University Press of Kansas series “American Political Thought” and the author of many articles, essays, and books on the American founding and first party struggle, including three award-winning books: Jefferson and Madison: Three Conversations from the Founding, The Jeffersonian Persuasion: Evolution of a Party Ideology, and The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the Founding of the Federal Republic, the latter two of which were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.