Edmund Burke (January 12, 1729 – July 9, 1797) is known as the “modern founder of political conservatism”. He was a philosopher, an author, an orator, a statesman and served in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig Party for many years. Later, his opposition to the French Revolution led to him becoming the leading figure of the conservative Whigs also known as the “Old Whigs”.

Burke on Monstrous Revolution and Regicide Peace

By |2020-10-15T15:53:47-05:00October 15th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Edmund Burke, Europe, Government, History, Justice, Politics, Revolution, Senior Contributors|

Far from creating peace, Edmund Burke contended, the French Revolution had generated the greatest despotism the world had yet seen, politicizing all things and enslaving the vast majority of the population. The Revolution itself was monstrous and had created only monstrous things. Of Edmund Burke’s (1729-1797) four Letters on a Regicide Peace—his final work, [...]

Burke’s First Letter on a Regicide Peace

By |2020-10-15T09:55:34-05:00October 8th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civilization, Edmund Burke, Government, History, Politics, Revolution, Senior Contributors|

As Edmund Burke observed, real community begins with the free and natural choice to associate at the most personal, familial, and local level, with each community growing from the ground up. By misunderstanding this, the French Revolutionaries seceded not just from Christendom, but from the laws of nature. In the final years of his [...]

Edmund Burke and the Last Polish King

By |2020-08-31T15:28:56-05:00July 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 [...]

Edmund Burke on Rights: Inherited, Not Inherent

By |2020-06-16T16:16:40-05:00June 16th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Declaration of Independence, Edmund Burke, Freedom|

On what basis are political constitutions actually formed and remain valid? Where do rights come from? Edmund Burke offers us an account different from that of many of our contemporaries. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, [...]

Did Edmund Burke Support the American Revolution?

By |2020-03-17T17:36:43-05:00March 17th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Declaration of Independence, Edmund Burke, History, Independence Day, Robert Nisbet, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Many conservatives have assumed that Edmund Burke was opposed to the American Revolution. It is, to my mind, an erroneous assumption. “Burke broke his agentship and went publicly silent on the American cause once war broke out,” Robert Nisbet claimed in his most definitive analysis of Edmund Burke, written and published in 1985. His [...]

The Three Conservative Burkes: Hayek, Strauss, and Kirk

By |2020-03-05T10:18:27-06:00March 5th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Politics, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

Edmund Burke was the nexus among the classical, medieval, and modern worlds, and the best answer to contemporary ideology. It is worth considering the Burke of Friedrich Hayek, Leo Strauss, and Russell Kirk in order to fully understand his importance to the rise of conservatism in academia after World War II. The somewhat radical (relatively [...]

Edmund Burke and the Dignity of the Human Person

By |2019-12-17T22:18:01-06:00December 17th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Edmund Burke, Imagination, Moral Imagination, Senior Contributors|

Edmund Burke believed that one must see the human being not for what he is, or the worst that is within him, but rather as clothed in the “wardrobe of moral imagination,” a glimpse of what the person could be and is, by God, meant to be. Though we correctly remember Edmund Burke as [...]

The Moral Imagination & Imaginative Conservatism

By |2019-07-19T14:32:07-05:00July 17th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Edmund Burke, Eva Brann, Imagination, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jane Austen, Moral Imagination, St. John's College|

Moral imagination runs not incidentally but necessarily in tandem with a certain aspect of conservatism, what I think of as imaginative conservatism… The Moral Imagination: From Edmund Burke to Lionel Trilling, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (259 pages, Ivan R. Dee, 2006) The Moral Imagination is a very engaging collection of a dozen essays on a dozen [...]

The Un-Burkean Economic Policy of Edmund Burke

By |2019-06-17T10:55:49-05:00June 16th, 2019|Categories: Adam Smith, Economics, Edmund Burke, Ralph Ancil, Wilhelm Roepke|

Edmund Burke allowed his fear of the French Revolution to cloud his judgment of a fitting response to the needs of agricultural workers. He was blind to the dangers of monopoly and concentration of economic power, to the possible ways of intervening that conform to the character of a market economy. “The mistakes which [...]

Edmund Burke on Revolutionary Armies and Taxes

By |2020-09-01T15:25:15-05:00December 13th, 2018|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civil Society, Conservation, Edmund Burke, Edmund Burke series by Bradley Birzer, Revolution, Taxes|

No government has ever made itself permanently wealthy through the plunder of its people—which destroys not just the productive capacity of a country but also its moral foundations. Though a classic in its own right, and arguably the first book on conservatism in the modern world, Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France of [...]

Edmund Burke and the Calculation of Man

By |2020-07-08T16:45:48-05:00December 7th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Civil Society, Community, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Edmund Burke series by Bradley Birzer, Politics|

As Edmund Burke began to wind down his very long letter—that which would become 1790’s Reflections on the Revolution in France—he returned to the question of first principles and right reason, especially in regard to the nature of the human person. At his best and most natural, Burke argued, men understood themselves as spirited [...]

Leo Strauss vs. Edmund Burke

By |2019-07-30T15:56:42-05:00December 3rd, 2018|Categories: Books, Edmund Burke, History, Leo Strauss, Nature, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Reason, Truth|

What ought to take primacy when carrying out research and interpreting seminal books: the text itself, or the context? A known critic of historicism and contextualism, Leo Strauss published his seminal essay, ‘What is Political Philosophy?’ in 1957 in the Journal of Politics and introduced a problem with the field: Modern academic obsessions over [...]

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