Bolingbroke and His Circle: The Politics of Nostalgia in the Age of Walpole

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'Examining the acrimonious political debate during the administration of Walpole from the perspective of its social context, Kramnick focuses directly upon the political culture of Augustan Britain. As the title implies, the volume is chiefly concerned with analyzing the thought and behavior of Bolingbroke and his supporters. The result is the most comprehensive and persuasive general study thus far published of early eighteenth-century British political thought.
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Editorial Reviews

A study of the political culture of Augustan Britain, much admired upon its original publication in 1968 (Harvard U. Press). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801480010
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Isaac Kramnick is Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government at Cornell University, where he also served as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and faculty-elected member of the Board of Trustees. He is the author or editor of many books, including studies of the American founding fathers, Thomas Paine, Edmund Burke, and the twentieth-century Englishman Harold Laski.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Bolingbroke, Political Thought, and the Augustan Age 1
I The "Anti-Minister": The Political Career and Writings of Lord Bolingbroke 8
Statesman and Exile 8
Opposition and The Craftsman 17
History and Parties 24
Patriots and Kings 30
II Walpole and the New Economic Order 39
The Economic Revolution, 1688-1740 39
Walpole's Robinocracy and the New Economic Order 48
III Bolingbroke and the New England 56
The Plight of the Gentry 56
The Bank Crisis of 1710 and the Bubble of 1720 63
The New Economy, Corruption, and the Model of Rome 70
Politics and the New Economy: Leadership, Balance, and the "Genuine" Polity 76
IV Bolingbroke on Natural Law, Society, and the Origins of Government 84
Natural Law, Platonists, and Hobbes 84
The Origins of Political Society 88
Bolingbroke and Locke 95
The Precursors: Leslie, Shaftesbury, and Temple 106
V Walpole on Politics and the English Constitution 111
Walpole and Political Practice 111
Walpole and Political Ideas 115
Walpole on Political Parties 119
Walpole on Corruption 121
Walpole on Mixed Government and Representation 124
Walpole on English History 127
VI Bolingbroke on Politics and the English Constitution 137
Balance and Mixed Government 137
Party and Opposition 153
The Patriot King: Machiavelli and the Humanist Prince 163
Bolingbroke and the Radical Theory of Representation 169
Bolingbroke on English History 177
Bolingbroke: Theorist of International Relations 181
VII Defoe and the Literature of the New Age 188
Walpole's "Laureate" 188
Bernard Mandeville: Philosopher of Avarice 201
VIII The Nostalgia of the Augustan Poets 205
The Savage Indignation of Dean Swift 206
Alexander Pope: Opposition "Laureate" 217
John Gay--Beggars, Gentry, and Society 223
Lord Lyttelton's Persian Letters and the Elizabethan Model 230
IX The Ambivalence of the Augustan Commonwealthman 236
Dr. Charles Davenant 237
John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon: Cato's Letters 243
Robert Molesworth, Walter Moyle, and John Toland 252
Conclusion: Toward a Reassessment of Bolingbroke 261
Notes 267
Index 315
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