Bradley J. Birzer

About Bradley J. Birzer

Bradley J. Birzer is the co-founder of, and Senior Contributor at, The Imaginative Conservative. He is the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History at Hillsdale College and Fellow of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Dr. Birzer is author of In Defense of Andrew Jackson, Russell Kirk: American Conservative, American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll, Sanctifying the World: The Augustinian Life and Mind of Christopher Dawson, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth, co-editor of The American Democrat and Other Political Writings by James Fenimore Cooper, and co-author of The American West.

Just How Catholic Is the Declaration of Independence?

By |2020-07-31T22:24:04-05:00August 1st, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Catholicism, Christianity, Declaration of Independence, History, Senior Contributors, Thomas Jefferson|

An oft-reprinted editorial, “Did Bellarmine Whisper to Thomas Jefferson?,” suggests that the American statesman might have been influenced by Robert Bellarmine. While recent scholarship has confirmed that Jefferson came to Bellarmine through the works of the radical Protestant intermediary, Algernon Sydney, is the Declaration of Independence really influenced by Catholic teaching? In the wake [...]

Edmund Burke and the Last Polish King

By |2020-07-23T12:04:37-05:00July 23rd, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civilization, Culture, Edmund Burke, History, Poland, Revolution, Senior Contributors|

Poland’s reforms and constitution, Edmund Burke thought, offered real meaning, much closer to the experience of the American Revolution than that of the French Revolution. In significant ways, the Polish king succeeded because he embraced the laws of nature and “the array of Justice” without forcing anything of his own will upon his people. [...]

Conserving in A.D. 2020 or 499 B.C.

By |2020-07-21T17:58:07-05:00July 21st, 2020|Categories: Aristotle, Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Conservatism, Culture, Edmund Burke, Politics, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, Socrates, Thomas More|

In times of chaos, it’s profoundly necessary to remember those who have come before us and the innumerable sacrifices they made. Each of these great men, whatever his individual faults, sought to live according to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. They preserved, and they conserved. As a way of perceiving and a [...]

The Imaginative Conservative: 10 Years of Preserving & Advancing

By |2020-07-09T15:08:59-05:00July 9th, 2020|Categories: Aristotle, Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Reason, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative|

What we held back in 2010 we still hold today: “The Imaginative Conservative” is not meant to be one voice, but many voices forming one voice. The ideologue and the conformist, we equally despise. We want excellence, argument, inquiry. We wish to provide, above all, a safe haven for reason and reasoned passion: We [...]

How Ray Bradbury Predicted 2020

By |2020-07-06T16:33:02-05:00July 7th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Community, Literature, Modernity, Ray Bradbury, Senior Contributors|

In Ray Bradbury’s understanding, the government might very well be wicked and evil, but it would always follow the lead of the Masses and become their tool, rather than the other way around. I’ve been reading the works of Ray Bradbury since grade school. Probably like many of my generation, I was introduced to [...]

Happy Birthday, America!

By |2020-07-03T16:50:53-05:00July 3rd, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Declaration of Independence, Independence Day, Senior Contributors|

Happy 244th, America! The world wouldn’t be the same without you. It would be poorer, less ethical, less stable, and less humane had you never come into existence. Whatever America’s faults, her successes outweigh them all. As protestors around the United States tear down statues, brutally beat rosary warriors, attack neighborhoods, threaten the destruction [...]

Revolutions: 2020 vs. 1776

By |2020-06-24T15:37:26-05:00June 24th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Declaration of Independence, History, Modernity, Revolution, Senior Contributors|

The revolutionaries of 1776 could be just as violent as those of 2020, but they were truly a lot more intelligent and interesting. Eighteenth-century Americans fought with several generations worth of finely-honed arguments—from law, from experience, and from scripture, whereas the protestors of 2020, while armed with anger, seem armed with little else. In [...]

In Praise of Libraries

By |2020-06-22T11:43:00-05:00June 22nd, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Culture, Libraries, Senior Contributors|

May God bless the librarians of the world. Unrecognized as such, they are the keepers and preserves of culture, and of our sanctuary islands in the maelstrom of turbulent modernity. My earliest memory of entering a library was sometime during my first few days at Wiley Elementary School in Hutchinson, Kansas. It was the [...]

Who Actually Discovered America?

By |2020-06-18T16:42:14-05:00June 18th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civilization, History, Senior Contributors|

Christopher Columbus is without a doubt responsible for the Columbian Exchange—which through human agency recreated the lost world of Pangea. But was Columbus the first to discover America? As noted in my previous essay here at The Imaginative Conservative, the memory—and especially the statues—of Christopher Columbus has taken quite the beating over the last [...]

Hail, Christopher Columbus!

By |2020-06-20T14:37:40-05:00June 15th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civilization, Europe, History, Senior Contributors|

The once-radical belief that Christopher Columbus was evil has sadly become mainstream. But Columbus was a brave and tenacious explorer—flawed, of course, like every man—who expanded the knowledge of the Old World, changing it and the New World forever. Christopher Columbus changed the world. It’s as simple as this. We might argue that these [...]

Thomas Jefferson, Whig Historian

By |2020-07-04T01:43:12-05:00June 12th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, History, Senior Contributors, Thomas Jefferson|

Given how vital a role history placed in the English-speaking world of the 18th century, Thomas Jefferson’s own love of history should not be too shocking. Further, it should not be surprising that Jefferson embraced a rather Whiggish view of history, one that pervaded much of American political, social, cultural, and religious thought. It [...]

The Odd History of the Whig Party

By |2020-06-09T14:03:41-05:00June 9th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, History, Politics, Presidency, Senior Contributors|

Unlike the Democrats, the Whigs never fully coalesced as a party, at least in terms of their ideas. But if the members of the party agreed on anything other than their hatred of Andrew Jackson and the abuse of executive power, it was their relentless opposition to imperial expansion and Manifest Destiny. When Andrew [...]

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