French Revolution Debate in Britain: The Origins of Modern Politics

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $29.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 73%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (11) from $29.99   
  • New (5) from $90.05   
  • Used (6) from $29.99   


Gregory Claeys explores the reception of the French Revolution in Britain through the medium of its leading interpreters. Claeys argues that the major figures--Thomas Paine, Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin and John Thelwall--collectively laid the foundations for political debate for the following century, and longer.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780333626467
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 3/28/2007
  • Series: British History in Perspective Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

GREGORY CLAEYS is Professor of the History of Political Thought at Royal Holloway University of London.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     viii
Chronology     ix
Introduction: The Origins of Modern Political Discourse     1
Edmund Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) and the Origins of Conservatism     11
Background     11
The Revolution Commences     11
Burke's Main Arguments     14
The Reception of the Reflections     23
The Development of Burke's Thought after the Reflections     25
Burke's Later Reputation     32
Thomas Paine: Rights of Man (1791-2) and the Origins of Radicalism     35
Background     35
Rights of Man (1791-2)     35
Paine's Religious Thought: The Age of Reason (1794)     41
Reinforcing Property Rights: Agrarian Justice (1796)     44
The Reception and later Reputation of Paine's Ideas     47
Mary Wollstonecraft: Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) and the Origins of Feminism     49
Wollstonecraft's Life     49
From the Vindication of the Rights of Men to the Vindication of the Rights of Woman     50
The Development of Wollstonecraft's Thought     65
Wollstonecraft's Reputation     66
The Spectre of 'Levelling': Loyalists and Paineites, c. 1791-5     68
Introduction     68
Responses to Burke     70
West of Hounslow: The Growth of Popular Radicalism     75
The Emergence of Loyalism     79
Responses to Paine     80
The Popular Debate in Decline c. 1793-1800     92
Conclusion     97
Varieties of Whiggism: Fox, Sheridan and the Whig Party, 1791-3     99
Introduction: Whigs Unwhigged?: Fragmented Loyalties     99
Whigs and Newer Whigs: Charles James Fox and Richard Brinsley Sheridan     100
Whig Radicalism: The Society of the Friends of the People and the Revolution Society     111
Conclusion     116
William Godwin: The Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) and the Origins of Philosophical Anarchism     118
Life and Background     118
The Central Doctrines of the Enquiry Concerning Political Justice     119
The Enquirer (1797) and Godwin's Later Views: Doubts Respecting Simplicity     129
The Reception of Political Justice     134
Conclusion     137
John Thelwall: Luxury, Property and the Rights of Labour     138
Introduction     138
Republicanism, Poverty and Luxury: Thelwall's Intellectual Development and Significance     138
Virtuous Poverty Abandoned: The Rights of Nature Against the Usurpations of Establishments (1796)     144
Conclusion     152
Conclusion     154
The Aftermath     154
Epilogue: Exit Strategies     155
Godwin and Malthus     155
Charles Hall and the Origins of Socialism     159
Conclusion: The Prelude to Modern Liberty and Equality     163
Notes     165
Reading List: Major Figures     237
Index     241
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)