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Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)

by Edmund Burke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,350234,950 (3.65)31
This new and up-to-date edition of a book that has been central to political philosophy, history, and revolutionary thought for two hundred years offers readers a dire warning of the consequences that follow the mismanagement of change. Written for a generation presented with challenges of terrible proportions--the Industrial, American, and French Revolutions, to name the most obvious--Burke's Reflections of the Revolution in France displays an acute awareness of how high political stakes can be, as well as a keen ability to set contemporary problems within a wider context of political theory.… (more)
  1. 30
    The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot by Russell Kirk (Anonymous user)
  2. 10
    Considerations on France by Joseph de Maistre (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Great companion piece. Another conservative, and an admirer of Burke, though he wrote with quite a different temperament. Both very deep thinkers, but while Burke is more nuanced and grounded, de Maistre is dark, profound and metaphysical. I prefer 'Considerations' but both works are excellent.… (more)
  3. 00
    Edmund Burke and the Natural Law by Peter J. Stanlis (Anonymous user)
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» See also 31 mentions

English (22)  Spanish (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
"...the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever."

The seminal text of contemporary Anglo-American conservatism and a continuing inspiration to classical liberals everywhere. Burke channeled his outrage over the French Revolution into a broadside against the horrors of the barbarous and destructive revolutionaries and the tyranny of their democratic majorities. He instead revered the 1689 Bill of Rights and the tradition of English constitutionalism embodied by the Magna Carta, Coke and Blackstone as "the fixed form of a constitution whose merits are confirmed by the solid test of long experience and an increasing public strength and national prosperity." Essential to any reading of the Western tradition. ( )
  wyclif | Sep 22, 2021 |
This book offers lessons for today.
Politics is a dirty business and democracy sometimes requires too many compromises. Change is slow, we can all see that injustice and inequality prevails, and politicians seem unable to solve our problems. Besides, we all know that your neighbor next door is an idiot, and he still gets one vote... just like you.
Wouldn't it be great if we could use a big hammer, break everything apart and start all over again? Someone surely has a solution to our problems.
Burke lived during the French Revolution and he saw, and he reflected, what happens when someone tears down the ruling institutions and starts again, with no constraints from the past, no thought of the future and no opposition. The result is tyranny. And the French got just that.
Burke uses the French revolutionary government as an example of what a society should not do in order to solve its problems.
For Burke a good and just government is the work of ages and requires the input of many generations. Rulers must convince both the people and the opposition about the advantage of their policies or principles. Even within the ruling body there is dissent and every argument and proposal has to be sharpened by the wit of many. No proposal or principle survives unscathed by this resistance. But with debate, with struggle and with compromise you get a better proposal, a better ruling principle. Then, and only then, it is ready to replace and old principle or and old policy.
The lessons this book imparts are as relevant today as they were more than 200 years ago. ( )
  Pindarix | Jul 15, 2021 |
NA
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
I did not read Burke's words- I only read the introduction by JGA Pocock. This intro provides a thorough background to Burke's works and beliefs, as well as a general overview of the politics of that time period in England. ( )
  keithostertag | Jun 29, 2020 |
Edmund Burke, MP was not in favour of popular enthusiasms, and when they rise to actual violence, well that is beyond the pale. Even though there may well have been reasons for the uprising, there should not have been this unseemly tumult. When oppressed, the populace should be able to find some non-violent way of changing their condition. After all the English have managed to avoid all this fuss....Well, haven't we? Burke was a prescient Conservative, and saw that the /French were embarked on a road that would lead to violence, to finally dictatorship, and perhaps a deeper tyranny than before. Gradual improvement on an evolutionary course would serve the french better, but they are only Latins, and therefore, the worst can be expected. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Mar 9, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Edmund Burkeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mahoney, Thomas H. D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Brien, Conor CruiseIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dear Sir,
You are pleased to call again, and with some earnestness, for my thoughts on the late proceedings in France.
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"It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles. . . "
"The age of chivalry is gone."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is maintained as a separate work. Do not therefore combine to editions with other essays.
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This new and up-to-date edition of a book that has been central to political philosophy, history, and revolutionary thought for two hundred years offers readers a dire warning of the consequences that follow the mismanagement of change. Written for a generation presented with challenges of terrible proportions--the Industrial, American, and French Revolutions, to name the most obvious--Burke's Reflections of the Revolution in France displays an acute awareness of how high political stakes can be, as well as a keen ability to set contemporary problems within a wider context of political theory.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300099797, 0300099789

Liberty Fund, Inc

2 editions of this book were published by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Editions: 086597165X, 0865971641

 

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