Sunday, January 10, 2010

reflections on the modern state

Pincus uses economic issues to invigorate study of the Glorious Revolution in his book 1688: The First Modern Revolution:

Edmund Burke – who in his Reflections on the Revolution in France contrasted the sweet reasonableness of 1688 with the violent chaos of 1789 – helped establish the template by which the Glorious Revolution would be judged: a peaceable affair, even by English standards. Later historians buttressed Burke’s contention that what really happened in 1688 was really no revolution at all. The locus classicus of a Glorious Unrevolution was put forth by Thomas Babington Macaulay: “To us who have lived in the year 1848,” he wrote in his History of England, “it may seem almost an abuse of terms to call a proceeding, conducted with so much deliberation, with so much sobriety, and with such minute attention to prescriptive etiquette, by the terrible name of revolution.”

Yet this apparently uneventful transfer of power concealed profound alterations in the relationship between the English crown and its subjects....

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