Is Now the Time for Revolution or Aggressive Reform? Volume 1

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Though perfectionism and disinterested benevolence were the most prominent forces encouraging benevolent societies, some preachers achieved the same end in their advocacy of postmillennialism. Though ideological and theological issues like these divided Protestants into more and more sects, church leaders often worked on an interdenominational basis to establish benevolent societies and draw their followers into the work of social reform.

Under the leadership of preachers and ministers, reform societies attacked many social problems. Those concerned about drinking could join temperance societies; other groups focused on eradicating dueling and gambling. Evangelical reformers might support home or foreign missions or Bible and tract societies. Sabbatarians fought tirelessly to end nonreligious activity on the Sabbath. They built orphanages and free medical dispensaries and developed programs to provide professional services like social work, job placement, and day camps for children in the slums.

Eastern State Penitentiary changed the principles of imprisonment, focusing on reform rather than punishment. The structure itself used the panopticon surveillance system, and was widely copied by prison systems around the world. S: Duval and Co. These organizations often shared membership as individuals found themselves interested in a wide range of reform movements. On Anniversary Week, many of the major reform groups coordinated the schedules of their annual meetings in New York or Boston to allow individuals to attend multiple meetings in a single trip.

Among all the social reform movements associated with the benevolent empire, the temperance crusade was the most successful. Alcohol consumption became a significant social issue after the American Revolution. Commercial distilleries produced readily available, cheap whiskey that was frequently more affordable than milk or beer and safer than water, and hard liquor became a staple beverage in many lower- and middle-class households.

Consumption among adults skyrocketed in the early nineteenth century, and alcoholism had become an endemic problem across the United States by the s. As alcoholism became an increasingly visible issue in towns and cities, most reformers escalated their efforts from advocating moderation in liquor consumption to full abstinence from all alcohol. Many reformers saw intemperance as the biggest impediment to maintaining order and morality in the young republic.

Temperance reformers saw a direct correlation between alcohol and other forms of vice and, most importantly, felt that it endangered family life. In , evangelical ministers organized the American Temperance Society to help spread the crusade nationally. It supported lecture campaigns, produced temperance literature, and organized revivals specifically aimed at encouraging worshippers to give up the drink. It was so successful that within a decade, it established five thousand branches and grew to over a million members. In response to the perception that heavy drinking was associated with men who abused, abandoned, or neglected their family obligations, women formed a significant presence in societies dedicated to eradicating liquor.

Temperance became a hallmark of middle-class respectability among both men and women and developed into a crusade with a visible class character. Temperance, like many other reform efforts, was championed by the middle class and threatened to intrude on the private lives of lower-class workers, many of whom were Irish Catholics. Such intrusions by the Protestant middle class exacerbated class, ethnic, and religious tensions. In the s, Americans drank half of what they had in the s, and per capita consumption continued to decline over the next two decades.

Though middle-class reformers worked tirelessly to cure all manner of social problems through institutional salvation and voluntary benevolent work, they regularly participated in religious organizations founded explicitly to address the spiritual mission at the core of evangelical Protestantism. In fact, for many reformers, it was actually the experience of evangelizing among the poor and seeing firsthand the rampant social issues plaguing life in the slums that first inspired them to get involved in benevolent reform projects.

Modeling themselves on the British and Foreign Bible Society, formed in to spread Christian doctrine to the British working class, urban missionaries emphasized the importance of winning the world for Christ, one soul at a time. For example, the American Bible Society and the American Tract Society used the efficient new steam-powered printing press to distribute Bibles and evangelizing religious tracts throughout the United States.

Such evangelical missions extended well beyond the urban landscape, however. Stirred by nationalism and moral purpose, evangelicals labored to make sure the word of God reached far-flung settlers on the new American frontier. The American Bible Society distributed thousands of Bibles to frontier areas where churches and clergy were scarce, while the American Home Missionary Society provided substantial financial assistance to frontier congregations struggling to achieve self-sufficiency. Missionaries worked to translate the Bible into Iroquois and other languages in order to more effectively evangelize Native American populations.

As efficient printing technology and faster transportation facilitated new transatlantic and global connections, religious Americans also began to flex their missionary zeal on a global stage. For the optimistic, religiously motivated American, no problem seemed too great to solve. Difficulties arose, however, when the benevolent empire attempted to take up more explicitly political issues. The movement against Indian removal was the first major example of this. Missionary work had first brought the Cherokee Nation to the attention of northeastern evangelicals in the early nineteenth century.

Missionaries sent by the American Board and other groups sought to introduce Christianity and American cultural values to the Cherokee and celebrated when their efforts seemed to be met with success. Mission supporters were shocked, then, when the election of Andrew Jackson brought a new emphasis on the removal of Native Americans from the land east of the Mississippi River.

The Indian Removal Act of was met with fierce opposition from within the affected Native American communities as well as from the benevolent empire. Jeremiah Evarts, one of the leaders of the American Board, wrote a series of essays under the pen name William Penn urging Americans to oppose removal. This political shift was even more evident when American missionaries challenged Georgia state laws asserting sovereignty over Cherokee territory in the Supreme Court Case Worcester v. Anti-removal activism was also notable for the entry of ordinary American women into political discourse.

The first major petition campaign by American women focused on opposition to removal and was led anonymously by Catharine Beecher. Inspired by a meeting with Jeremiah Evarts, Beecher echoed his arguments from the William Penn letters in her appeal to American women. The divisions that the anti-removal campaign revealed became more dramatic with the next political cause of nineteenth century reformers: abolitionism. The revivalist doctrines of salvation, perfectionism, and disinterested benevolence led many evangelical reformers to believe that slavery was the most God-defying of all sins and the most terrible blight on the moral virtue of the United States.

While white interest in and commitment to abolition had existed for several decades, organized antislavery advocacy had been largely restricted to models of gradual emancipation seen in several northern states following the American Revolution and conditional emancipation seen in colonization efforts to remove black Americans to settlements in Africa.

The colonizationist movement of the early nineteenth century had drawn together a broad political spectrum of Americans with its promise of gradually ending slavery in the United States by removing the free black population from North America. Baptists such as William Lloyd Garrison, Congregational revivalists like Arthur and Lewis Tappan and Theodore Dwight Weld, and radical Quakers including Lucretia Mott and John Greenleaf Whittier helped push the idea of immediate emancipation onto the center stage of northern reform agendas.

The result would be national redemption and moral harmony. As a young man immersed in the reform culture of antebellum Massachusetts, Garrison had fought slavery in the s by advocating for both black colonization and gradual abolition. Fiery tracts penned by black northerners David Walker and James Forten, however, convinced Garrison that colonization was an inherently racist project and that African Americans possessed a hard-won right to the fruits of American liberty.

Then, in , Garrison presided as reformers from ten states came together to create the American Anti-Slavery Society. The Liberator, April 17, Masthead designed by Hammatt Billings in Metropolitan State University. In order to accomplish their goals, abolitionists employed every method of outreach and agitation. At home in the North, abolitionists established hundreds of antislavery societies and worked with long-standing associations of black activists to establish schools, churches, and voluntary associations.

They blared their arguments from lyceum podiums and broadsides. Abolitionists used the U. Postal Service in to inundate southern slaveholders with calls to emancipate their slaves in order to save their souls, and, in , they prepared thousands of petitions for Congress as part of the Great Petition Campaign.

Acknowledgments

February, Volume 27, Number 1. TOWARD A THEORY OF Revolutions are most likely to occur when a prolonged period of objective economic and. Now featuring affordable purchase options like print rentals and loose-leaf. Explore Options. Taking Sides: Clashing Views in United States History, Volume 1: The Colonial . Steven Katz believes the Pequots conducted a series of aggressive raids, is considered to be the most influential text of the Revolutionary period.

In the six years from to , abolitionist activities reached dizzying heights. In fact, abolitionists remained a small, marginalized group detested by most white Americans in both the North and the South. Immediatists were attacked as the harbingers of disunion, rabble-rousers who would stir up sectional tensions and thereby imperil the American experiment of self-government. Particularly troubling to some observers was the public engagement of women as abolitionist speakers and activists. Fearful of disunion and outraged by the interracial nature of abolitionism, northern mobs smashed abolitionist printing presses and even killed a prominent antislavery newspaper editor named Elijah Lovejoy.

In Congress, Whigs and Democrats joined forces in to pass an unprecedented restriction on freedom of political expression known as the gag rule, prohibiting all discussion of abolitionist petitions in the House of Representatives. Two years later, mobs attacked the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, throwing rocks through the windows and burning the newly constructed Pennsylvania Hall to the ground. In the face of such substantial external opposition, the abolitionist movement began to splinter.

In , an ideological schism shook the foundations of organized antislavery. Moral suasionists, led most prominently by William Lloyd Garrison, felt that the U. Constitution was a fundamentally pro-slavery document, and that the present political system was irredeemable. They dedicated their efforts exclusively toward persuading the public to redeem the nation by reestablishing it on antislavery grounds. However, many abolitionists, reeling from the level of entrenched opposition met in the s, began to feel that moral suasion was no longer realistic.

Instead, they believed, abolition would have to be effected through existing political processes. So, in , political abolitionists formed the Liberty Party under the leadership of James G. This new abolitionist society was predicated on the belief that the U. Constitution was actually an antislavery document that could be used to abolish the stain of slavery through the national political system.

This question came to a head when, in , Abby Kelly was elected to the business committee of the society. The elevation of women to full leadership roles was too much for some conservative members who saw this as evidence that the society had lost sight of its most important goal. These disputes became so bitter and acrimonious that former friends cut social ties and traded public insults. Another significant shift stemmed from the disappointments of the s. Abolitionists in the s increasingly moved from agendas based on reform to agendas based on resistance.

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Moral suasionists continued to appeal to hearts and minds, and political abolitionists launched sustained campaigns to bring abolitionist agendas to the ballot box. Meanwhile the entrenched and violent opposition of both slaveholders and the northern public encouraged abolitionists to find other avenues of fighting the slave power. Increasingly, for example, abolitionists aided runaway slaves established international antislavery networks to pressure the United States to abolish slavery.

Frederick Douglass represented the intersection of these two trends. After escaping from slavery, Douglass came to the fore of the abolitionist movement as a naturally gifted orator and a powerful narrator of his experiences in slavery. His first autobiography, published in , was so widely read that it was reprinted in nine editions and translated into several languages. He was neither the first nor the last runaway slave to make this voyage, but his great success abroad contributed significantly to rousing morale among weary abolitionists at home.

Frederick Douglass was perhaps the most famous African American abolitionist, fighting tirelessly not only for the end of slavery but for equal rights of all American citizens. This copy of a daguerreotype shows him as a young man, around the age of 29 and soon after his self-emancipation. Print, c. The model of resistance to the slave power only became more pronounced after , when a long-standing Fugitive Slave Act was given new teeth. Though a legal mandate to return runway slaves had existed in U. When Dr. Price spurred him to respond to his praise of the French Revolution, Burke couched his reply in the form of another letter to Depont.

But it grew into a book addressed in reality to the British public in a highly rhetorical style. Yet there is more, much more, to the Reflections than rhetoric. It is not that Burke was or claimed to be a philosopher. Nor is his book a detached philosophical reflection on a great historical event. It is designed not merely to explain the event, but to persuade a reading public that the French Revolution is a menace to the civilization of Europe, and of Britain in particular. Yet, since the Revolution was built upon a political theory, Burke found himself obliged for the first time to organize his own previous beliefs about God, man, and society into a coherent political countertheory.

The Reflections begins with an attack on Dr. Price and his speech. This followed from what Dr. Certainly, he said, it was unknown to the leaders of the Revolution in The house of lords, for instance, is not morally competent to dissolve the house of commons; no, nor even to dissolve itself, nor to abdicate, if it would, its portion in the legislature of the kingdom. Though a king may abdicate for his own person, he cannot abdicate for the monarchy. By as strong, or by a stronger reason, the house of commons cannot renounce its share of authority. The engagement and pact of society, which generally goes by the name of the constitution, forbids such invasion and such surrender.

The constituent parts of a state are obliged to hold their public faith with each other, and with all those who derive any serious interest under their engagements, as much as the whole state is bound to keep its faith with separate communities. The operative moral principle, it will be noticed, is that the terms of the constitution, once set, must be observed. This passage may seem to imply that there is no standard of natural right anterior and superior to the constitution.

Price and others presume that it is possible to appeal to those rights in order to determine what rights men ought to have now, in an old and long-established civil society. It is this appeal that Burke says English statesmen of the past rejected in favor of the historic rights of Englishmen. Original rights, which are objects of speculation rather than of experience, can give rise to conflicting absolute claims that can tear a society apart. Burke never denied that there had been a state of nature, that men had original rights in it, or that civil society had been formed by a compact.

Either he accepted these beliefs as one tends to accept the commonplaces of his age or he knew that others accepted them so generally that to deny them would be to lose the argument at the outset. For whatever reason, he restricted himself to arguing that the original rights of men were not unreal, but irrelevant to civil society. These metaphysic rights entering into common life, like rays of light which pierce into a dense medium, are, by the laws of nature, refracted from their straight line.

Indeed in the gross and complicated mass of human passions and concerns, the primitive rights of men undergo such a variety of refractions and reflections, that it becomes absurd to talk of them as if they continued in the simplicity of their original direction. If civil society be made for the advantage of man, all the advantages for which it is made become his right. It is an institution of beneficence; and law itself is only beneficence acting by a rule. Men have a right to live by that rule; they have a right to do justice; as between their fellows, whether their fellows are in politic function or in ordinary occupation.

They have a right to the fruits of their industry; and to the means of making their industry fruitful. They have a right to the acquisitions of their parents; to the nourishment and improvement of their offspring; to instruction in life, and to consolation Edition: current; Page: [ [xvii] ] in death. Whatever each man can separately do, without trespassing upon others, he has a right to do for himself; and he has a right to a fair portion of all which society, with all its combinations of skill and force, can do in his favour. But their civil rights are not merely the legal form taken, after the social compact, by their original natural rights.

The purposes of government are specified by the natural wants of men, understood not as their desires, but as their real needs. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom. The rights of men in governments are their advantages; and these are often in balances between differences Edition: current; Page: [ [xviii] ] of good; in compromises sometimes between good and evil, and sometimes between evil and evil.

There are conceivable circumstances in which any of these, in a limited degree and for a limited time, might do someone more good than harm. But they could be justified only as a means to good ends, for these things are not in themselves human goods. Therefore, they cannot constitute the ends of life or the purposes of society.

On the other hand, one can name human needs that do specify, in a general way, what civil society is for, and Burke did name some of them. Civil society exists to guarantee to men justice, the fruits of their industry, the acquisitions of their parents, the nourishment and improvement of their offspring, instruction in life, and consolation in death. These are among the advantages that civil society exists to provide for men. But it is impossible to define antecedently, in the abstract and for all possible circumstances, the concrete forms in which these advantages are to be acquired and safeguarded.

That must be left to social experience and the gradual development of custom and law. The end of civil society, then, in global terms, is to promote what is good for human beings. They will therefore set the outer limits of what government may do to people and define what it may not do to them.

Burke was not inconsistent when he Edition: current; Page: [ [xix] ] denounced the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland and Warren Hastings in India for violating natural law by their treatment of the populations subject to their power. To deny that natural law is an abstract code of rights is not to say that it forbids nothing.

Human goods must be limited and trimmed in order to be simultaneously attainable in society. Not only that, but evils, which are negations of good, must be tolerated, sometimes even protected, in order that any good at all may be attained. A society ruthlessly purged of all injustice might turn out to be a vast prison. These considerations are particularly relevant to the right that was fundamentally at issue between Burke and his opponents. They held that every man in the state of nature had a sovereign right to govern himself and for that reason had a right to an equal share in the government of civil society.

But this implies that purpose, rather than original rights and individual consent, is the organizing and legitimizing principle of a constitution. Nor is it a short experience that can instruct us in that practical science. Who, then, shall make the practical judgments of politics? The question cannot be answered by appealing to the rights of men. Burke was undoubtedly what today is called an elitist and, in his own terminology, an aristocrat in principle. He had a very low estimation of the political capacity of the mass of the population, and when he agreed that the people had a role in government, he meant only a fairly well-educated and prosperous segment of the people.

But the main object of his attack on the democratic theory of his day was not so much the idea that the populace at large was capable of exercising political power as the principle that it had an inherent right to do its own will. I reprobate no form of government merely upon abstract principles. There may be situations in which the purely democratic form will become necessary.

There may be some very few, and very particularly circumstanced where it would be clearly desirable. This I do not take to be the case of France, or of any other great country. Democracy as a mere form of government, then, would be sometimes, if only rarely, acceptable to Burke. The phrase concerning the place of the people in the order of delegation is interesting because it may refer to a Edition: current; Page: [ [xxiii] ] theory of the origin of political authority which was generally accepted in Late Scholasticism and was most elaborately presented by the sixteenth-century Jesuit Francisco Suarez.

This authority consequently inheres in the first instance in the body politic or whole community. But the community can and, for its own common good, normally will transfer its authority to a king or a body of men smaller than the whole. For Paine, once God had given man his original rights at the creation, His work was done. Men then were able to create political authority out of their own wills. But for Burke, the authority of even the people was a trust held from God. In God, however, will is always rational because His will is identical with His reason.

The people, for their part, must make their will rational by keeping it in subordination to and conformity with the law of God. The law of God that Burke has in mind is not only or primarily His revealed law but the natural moral law, because it is a law that follows from the nature of man as created by God. The Creator is. He who gave our nature to be perfected by our virtue, willed also the necessary means of its perfection—He willed therefore the state—He willed its connection with the source and original archetype of all perfection.

There is an entire metaphysics implicit in this passage. God, as Creator, is the source of all being. The infinite fullness of His being, therefore, is the archetype of all finite being and becoming. All created beings reflect the goodness of their primary cause and tend toward their own full development or perfection by approaching His perfection, each in its own mode and within the limits of its potentialities. The state, as the necessary means of human perfection, must be connected to that original archetype.

The end of the state, for Burke, is divinely set and in its highest reach is nothing less than the perfection of human nature by its virtue. The constitution of civil society was a convention whose shape and form was not a necessary conclusion Edition: current; Page: [ [xxv] ] drawn from principles of natural law. Nonetheless, society was natural in the sense of being the necessary and divinely willed means to achieve the perfection of human nature.

Houses are undeniably artificial works of human hands, but they are a natural habitat for men because they more adequately satisfy the needs of human nature than caves can do. Society, then, is indeed a contract, but not one to be regarded in the same light as a commercial contract that is entered into for a limited and self-interested purpose and can be dissolved at the will of the contracting parties. Paine could look upon human society as rather like a vast commercial concern, potentially worldwide in scope, that was held together by reciprocal interest and mutual consent.

Burke could not share this utilitarian view of society:. It is to be looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary Edition: current; Page: [ [xxvi] ] and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection.

Because of the nature of its purposes, the contract of society has a character and a binding force that are different from those of ordinary contracts. In a literal sense he was, of course, quite right. Men achieve their natural social goals only in history. The structures inherited from the past, if they have served and still serve those goals, are binding upon those who are born into them. These persons are not morally free to dismantle the structures at pleasure and to begin anew from the foundations.

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For the goals in question are not those alone of the collection of individuals now present on earth, but also those of human nature and of God. The constitution of a society, conventional and historically conditioned though it is, becomes a part of the natural moral order because of the ends that it serves. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primaeval contract of eternal society, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible and invisible world, according to a fixed compact sanctioned by the inviolable oath which holds all physical and all moral natures, each in their appointed place.

This law is not subject to the will of those, who by an obligation above them, and infinitely superior, are bound to submit their will to that law. That moral order furnishes a law to which civil societies as well as individuals are obliged to conform. But are people never free to change the constitution and their government? Burke does not quite say that. Included in his concept of constitution was the whole corporate society to which he was devoted.

Nonetheless, he could not and did not deny that a revolution was sometimes necessary. He only insisted that it could not be justified but by reasons that were so obvious and so compelling that they were themselves part of the moral order:. It is the first and supreme necessity only, a necessity that is not chosen but chooses, a necessity paramount to deliberation, that admits no discussion, and demands no evidence, which alone can justify a resort to anarchy.

This necessity is no exception to the rule; because this necessity itself is a part too of that moral and physical disposition of things to which man must be obedient by consent or force. But if that which is only submission to necessity should be made the object of choice, the law is broken, nature is disobeyed, and the rebellious are outlawed, cast forth, and exiled, from this world of reason, and order, and peace, and virtue, and fruitful penitence, into the antagonist world of madness, discord, vice, confusion, and unavailing sorrow. One may think that here Burke has gone beyond rhetoric into rhapsody.

Yet the lines of his argument are clear enough. Burke was, indeed, uninterested in the workings of the Divine power. He was, it is true, a practicing politician, not a philosopher, and in these two works he wrote Edition: current; Page: [ [xxix] ] a polemic, not a dispassionate treatise on political theory. But his polemic included the presentation of a countertheory to the theory he was attacking. The countertheory depended in turn on explicitly stated premises of a moral and metaphysical nature. The premises are expounded, one must admit, in rhetorical language, especially in the Reflections.

They assume the superiority of reason or intellect to will in both God and man. Part of this universe is the natural moral order based on the nature of man as created by God. Since civil society is necessary to the attainment of that perfection, it too is natural and willed by God. The authority of the state derives from the rational and moral ends that it is intended by nature to serve. Consent plays a role in the formation of the state and the conferral of its authority on government, since both involve human acts of choice.

But the obligation to form a civil society is prior to consent, and, for those born under a constitution, consent to the constitution is commanded by the previous obligation to obey a government that is adequately serving the natural goals of society.

In this issue

But the basic political right is the right to be governed well, not the right to govern oneself. In this volume, the pagination of E. Cross references have been changed to reflect the pagination of the current edition. The use of double punctuation e. Moves to London to study law in Inns of Court, abandons it for a literary career.

Publishes A Vindication of Natural Society, a satire on Enlightenment political and religious reasoning. Rockingham dismissed as Prime Minister after achieving repeal of Stamp Act that inflamed the American colonies. Elected Member of Parliament for city of Bristol, delivers classic speech on the independence of a representative. Delivers Speech on American Taxation, criticizing British policy of taxing the colonies. Delivers Speech on Conciliation with the Colonies. Because of opposition, withdraws from election at Bristol.

Is elected M.

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In November, publishes Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke criticizes failure to prosecute the war vigorously in Observations on the Conduct of the Ministry and Remarks on the Policy of the Allies. Burke defends his public life in A Letter to a Noble Lord. The famous letter or pamphlet contained in this volume represents the workings of an extraordinary mind at an extraordinary crisis: and can therefore be compared with few things that have ever been spoken or written.

Composed in a literary age, it scarcely belongs to literature; yet it is one of the greatest of literary masterpieces. It embodies nothing of history save fragments which have mostly lost their interest, yet no book in the world has more historical significance. It scorns and defies philosophy, but it discloses a compact and unique system of its own. It tramples on logic, yet carries home to the most logical reader a conviction that its ill-reasoning is substantially correct. No one would think of agreeing with it in the mass, yet there are parts to which every candid mind will assent. Its many true and wise sayings are mixed up with extravagant and barefaced sophistry: its argument, with every semblance of legal exactness, is disturbed by hasty gusts of anger, and broken by chasms which yawn in the face of the least observant reader.

It is an intellectual puzzle, not too abstruse for solution: and hence few books are better adapted to stimulate the attention and judgment, and to generate the invaluable habit of mental vigilance. To discover its defects is easy enough. After a time, this impression disappears; eloquence and deep conviction have done their work, and the wisdom of a few pages, mostly dealing in generalities, is constructively extended to the whole.

But the reader now vacillates again: and this perpetual alternation of judgment on the part of a reader not thoroughly in earnest constitutes a main part of that fascination which Burke universally exercises. It is like the Edition: orig; Page: [ vi ] fascination of jugglery: now you believe your eyes, now you distrust them: the brilliancy of the spectacle first dazzles, and then satisfies: and you care little for what lies behind. This is what the author intended: the critical faculty is disarmed, the imagination is enthralled.

What did Burke propose to himself when he sat down to write this book? The letter to Depont is obviously a mere peg upon which to hang his argument: the book is written for the British public. He believed himself to foresee whither the revolutionary movement in France was tending: he saw one party in England regarding it with favour, the other with indifference: he saw clear revolutionary tendencies on all sides among the people: and not a single arm was as yet raised to avert the impending catastrophe.

Burke aimed at recalling the English nation to its ancient principles, and at showing the folly and imprudence of the French political movement. The great historical Whig party, the party of Somers, of Walpole, and of Chatham, was slowly passing through a painful transformation, which many observers mistook for dissolution. Burke found himself constrained to desert it, and that upon an occasion which afforded an opportunity of rendering it material support.

From that time forward he became a marked man. Even for Burke the act of thinking for himself was stigmatised as a crime. While the events of the French Revolution commended themselves to the leaders of his party, he ought not to have allowed Edition: current; Page: [ [5] ] it to be seen that they aroused in him nothing but anger and scorn; nor ought he to have appealed to the nation at large to support him in his opposition.

Such an appeal to the general public was characteristic of definite change of allegiance. Hence the obloquy which overwhelmed the last years of his life, raised by those who had been his associates during a career of a quarter of a century. They are, however, but few; they are obvious, and lie upon the surface.

It is hard for those who live a hundred years after the time to say whether such discrepancies were or were not justifiable. Scrutiny will discover that they turn mainly upon words. The House of Lords, for instance, in the first volume of these Select Works, is asserted to be a form of popular representation; in the present, the Peers are said to hold their share in the government by original and indefeasible right. Twenty years before, Burke had said that the tithes were merely a portion of the taxation, set apart by the national will for the support of a national institution.

In the present work, he argues that Church property possesses the qualities of private property. In the former volume it is asserted that all governments depend on public opinion: in the present, Burke urges that public opinion acts within much narrower limits.

Abstract truths, when embodied in the form of popular opinion, sometimes prove to be moral falsehoods. And popular opinion in the majority of cases proves to be a deceptive and variable force. Institutions stand or fall by their material strength and cohesion; and though these are by no means unconnected with the arguments which are advanced for or against them, the names and qualities with which they are invested in argument are altogether a secondary consideration.

The position of the Church, for instance, or the Peerage, has not been materially influenced by either way of regarding them. They have stood, as they continue to stand, because they are connected by many ties which are strong, though subtle and complicated, with the national being.

They stand, in some degree, because it is probable that the stronger half of the nation would fight for them. Edition: orig; Page: [ viii ] It is not to such obvious discrepancies that we owe the fact that the connexion between the present treatise and those contained in the former volume is less easily traced by points of resemblance than by points of contrast. The differencing causes lie deeper and spread wider.

In the first place, Burke in the present volume is appealing to a larger public.

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He is appealing directly to the whole English Nation, and indirectly to every citizen of the civilised world. In his early denunciations of the French Revolution, Burke stood almost alone. At first sight he appeared to have the most cherished of English traditions against him.

If there was one word which for a century had been sacred to Englishmen, it was the word Revolution. The King, around whom the discontented Whigs and the remnant of the Tories had rallied, was himself the creature of the Revolution. Now the party of Fox recognised a lawful relation between the Revolution of , and that which was entering daily on some new stage of its mighty development in France. There was really but little connexion between the two.

Pent in their own narrow circle, they could form no idea of a political movement on a bigger scale than a coalition: to them the French Revolution seemed merely an ordinary Whiggish rearrangement of affairs which would soon settle down into their places, the King, as in England, accepting a position subordinate to his ministers. Nor were Pitt and his party, with the strength of Parliament and the nation at their back, disposed to censure it. There was a double reason for favouring it, on the part of the English Premier. On the other, Mr. Pitt conceived that the new Government would naturally be favourable to those liberal principles of commercial intercourse which he had with so much difficulty forced on the old one.

Neither side saw, as Edition: orig; Page: [ ix ] Burke saw it, the real magnitude of the political movement in France, and how deep and extensive were the interests it involved. Burke, in the unfavourable impression which he conceived of the Revolution, was outside of both parties. He could find no audience in the House of Commons, where leading politicians had long looked askance upon him.

He had in his portfolio the commencement of a letter to a young Frenchman who had solicited from him an expression of opinion, and this letter he resolved to enlarge and give to the world. He thus appealed from the narrow tribunal of the House of Commons to the Nation at large. It was the first important instance of the recognition, on the part of a great statesman, of the power of public opinion in England in its modern form. Burke here addresses his arguments to a much wider public than of old. He recognises, what is now obvious enough, that English policy rests on the opinion of a reasonable democracy.

The reader, in comparing the two volumes, will notice this difference in the tribunal to which the appeal is made. Public opinion in the last twenty years had gone through rapid changes. The difference between the condition of public opinion in and in was greater than between and In it was necessary to rouse it into life: in it was already living, watching, and speaking for itself.

The immorality of the politicians of the day had awakened the distrust of the people: and the people and the King were united in supporting a popular minister. There was more activity, more public spirit, and more organisation. In England, as in France, communication with the capital from the remotest parts of the kingdom had become frequent and regular. London had in no less than fourteen daily newspapers; and many others appeared once or twice a week. No one can look over the files of these newspapers without perceiving the magnitude of the space which France at this time occupied in the eye of the English world.

The rivalry of the two nations was already at its height. The Bourbon kingdoms summed up, for the Englishman, the idea of foreign Powers: and disturbances in France told on England Edition: orig; Page: [ x ] with Edition: current; Page: [ [9] ] much greater effect than now. In England there prevailed a deceptive tranquillity. Burke and many others knew that the England of was not the England of The results of the American War were slowly convincing people that something more was possible than had hitherto been practised in modern English policy.

Democracy had grown from a possibility into a power. Whiggism, as a principle, had long been distrusted and discredited. With its decline had begun the discredit of all that it had idolised. The English Constitution, against which in hardly a breath had been raised, was in the succeeding twenty years exposed to general ridicule. Under a minister who proclaimed himself a Reformer, the newly awakened sentiment for political change was extending in all directions. Seats in Parliament had always been bought and sold; but, owing to the increased wealth of the community, prices had now undergone a preposterous advance.

Five thousand pounds was the average figure at which a wealthy merchant or rising lawyer had to purchase his seat from the patron of a borough. The disgraceful history of the Coalition made people call for reform in the Executive as well as the Legislative. Montesquieu had said that England must perish as soon as the Legislative power became more corrupt than the Executive; but it now seemed as if both branches of the government were competing in a race for degradation.

Corrupt as the Legislative was in its making, its material, drawn from the body of the nation, and not from a corps of professed intriguers, saved it from the moral disgrace which attended the Executive. Many were in favour of restoring soundness to the Executive as a preliminary reform; and many were the schemes proposed for effecting it. One very shrewd thinker, who sat in the House, proposed an annual Ministry, chosen by lot.

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Others proposed an elective Ministry: others wished to develop the House of Lords into something like the Grand Council of Venice. No political scheme was too absurd to lack an advocate. Universal suffrage, Edition: current; Page: [ [10] ] annual parliaments, and electoral districts were loudly demanded, and Dukes were counted among their warmest supporters.

The Edition: orig; Page: [ xi ] lawyers demonstrated how greatly the liberties of the nation had fallen off, and how grossly their nature was misunderstood. They proved it to be the duty of the People to reclaim them, and that no obstacle stood in the way. In this cry many Whigs and Tories, members of both Houses of Parliament, were found to join. This liberal movement was not confined to England. It spread, in a greater or less degree, all over Europe, even to St. Petersburg and Constantinople. In England, Reform was rather a cry than a political movement; but in France and Austria it was a movement as well as a cry.

In the latter country, indeed, the Reform was supplied before the demand, and the Emperor Joseph was forced by an ignorant people to reverse projects in which he had vainly tried to precede his age. But the demands abroad were for organic reforms, such as had long been effected in England. England, after the reign of Charles II, is a completely modern nation; society is reorganised on the basis which still subsists. But France and Germany in were still what they had been in the Middle Ages. The icy fetters which England had long ago broken up had on the Continent hardened until nothing would break them up but a convulsion.

In France this had been demonstrated by the failures of Turgot. The body of oppressive interests which time and usage had legalised was too strong to give way to a moderate pressure. A convulsion, a mighty shock, a disturbance of normal forces, was necessary: and the French people had long been collecting themselves for the task. Forty years a Revolution had been foreseen, and ten years at least it had been despaired of. But it came at Edition: current; Page: [ [11] ] last, and came unexpectedly; the Revolution shook down the feudalism of France, and the great general of the Revolution trampled to dust the tottering relics of it in the rest of Western Europe.

Conspicuous among the agencies which effected it was the new power of public opinion, which wrought an obvious effect, by means of the Gazettes of Paris, throughout the western world. Alexis de Tocqueville 's idea that "steadily increasing prosperity, far from tranquilizing the population, everywhere promoted a spirit of unrest", has been offered by several observers as an explanation for the —79 revolt.

But this does not explain why "there was very little oppositional activity" in the recession of —76 when unemployment and inflation were at similar levels to those of Another cause, or partial cause, in doubt is the Shah's liberalization as a result of the encouragement of President Jimmy Carter. Kurzman points out that "even as the shah arrived in Washington" for a state visit in late , "his regime's partial tolerance of oppositional activity was disappearing.

In November , as the shah ingratiated himself with Jimmy Carter, liberals were in retreat. Another author, Moojan Momen, questions whether Carter "could have said or done" anything to save the Shah — aside from foregoing his human rights policy — since "any direct interference by America would only have increased resentment" against the pro-American Shah. Theda Skocpol , an American socialist specializing in study of social revolutions , proposed an unprecedented cultural theory to account for the unique aspects of the Iranian Revolution, which she admitted falsified her past history-based theories on causes of social revolutions.

The fact that the revolution was successful can only be explained by reference to sustained extraordinary efforts by the urban Iranians to wear down and undermine the regime. Bazaars in particular became centers of associational life, with Islamic groups and occasions tying people together through clerics' interpreting Islamic laws to settle commercial disputes and taxing the well-to-do to provide welfare for devout poorer followers.

An endless succession of prayer-meetings and rituals were organized by both clergy and the laity. Bazaars also enjoyed ties with more modern sectors of Iranians society as many Iranian university students were from the merchant class. But since s, Shah aroused the defense and oppositions of the bazaar by attempts at bring under control their autonomous councils and marginalizing the clergy by taking over their educational and welfare activities.

In the mass revolutionary movements during the traditional urban communities played an indispensable role in making sustained mass struggle possible. The workers relied on economic aid from bazaar during their strikes and the secular opponents depended on alliance with clerics and lay leaders of the bazaar to mobilize the masses. The next question is how as part of a unique historical precedence, millions of Iranians were willing to face death in the mass demonstrations against brutal suppression by the army and how the clerics could rise as the leaders of the revolution.

This is explained by the potential role of the Shia beliefs and clerical organization in the Iranian society. Shi'a Islam embodies substantial symbolic content to inspire resistance against unjust rule and to justify religious leaders as alternative to secular authority. As Shah aimed to marginalize the Shia clergy and eliminate their influence by its modernization policies, clerics in Qom and their followers developed a populist, anti-Imperialist interpretation of Shia theology to delegitimize Shah for his injustice and his reliance on the anti-Islamic foreign imperialists.

The story of Husayn 's just revolt against the usurper caliph, Yazid I , and his eventual martyrdom, as well as the belief in the Islamic Messiah , Muhammad al-Mahdi , who clerics claim to represent during his Occultation , were particularly influential in victory of the revolution. As protests against the Shah began, the Shi'a clerics could claim legitimate leadership of the protests and the Husayn legend provided a framework for characterizing the Shah as a modern incarnation of the tyrant Yazid. The revolution also attracted secular Iranians who saw Shi'a Islam and Khomeini's unwavering moral leadership as an indigenous way to express common opposition to an arrogant monarch too closely associated with foreigners.

With the inspiration found in Hussein, the devout Iranians consistently defied the army with an audacity unprecedented in European revolutions and despite sustaining casualties. This sustained resistance, gradually undermined the morale of the military rank-and-file and their willingness to continue shooting into the crowds, until the state and the army succumbed before the revolution.

As such a very "traditional" part of Iranian life could forge a very modern-looking revolutionary movement. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part of a series on the. Revolutionary leaders. Parties and organizations. Official institutions. See also. Human rights in Iran. Main article: Reza Shah. Main article: Organizations of the Iranian Revolution. See also: Islamic revival. See also: Jimmy Carter's engagement with Khomeini. National Geographic. Retrieved 10 February Iran Under the Ayatollahs.

The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter. University of California Press. Retrieved 21 July Lorentz, p. Esposito, p. Tauris, , p. The Oil Kings: How the U. Martin's Press, , p.

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