Jerry Weinberger reinterprets Francis Bacon's History and defines its importance to the rise of modern republicanism, liberalism, and the politics of progress. His introduction describes the background of Bacon's History, placing it in the context of Bacon's work and the sources he may have used. Weinberger comments on the changing reputation and interpretation of the History and discusses its significance as a work of early modern political philosophy. The text of the History follows, accompanied by extensive explanatory footnotes. Weinberger's annotations establish the relationship of the text to the surviving manuscript, the first printed edition, and the Latin translation. In addition, they show Bacon's differences from the earlier historians on whom he relied, explain obsolete words, and clarify matters of historical chronology and fact. In his interpretive essay, Weinberger discusses contemporary debates on how best to approach and understand the History. He suggests that Bacon's apparently contradictory work is a subtle and seamless picture of the modern state. The History is not just an account of the first Tudor monarch, Weinberger claims: it also presents Bacon's teachings about the moral and political ends of modern progress. At its deepest level, Bacon's work reopens the ageless questions of political philosophy.
"This now-obscure work is a good read, and the fascinating interpretative essay by the editor, Jerry Weinberger, makes clear that it is also a fundamental work in modern political thought."—Weekly Standard