The Political Economy of Edmund Burke: The Role of Property in His Thought / Edition 2

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The basic theme of the book is that Burke saw property, and in particular the great masses of landed property, as the major check on the expansive power of the state, whether that meant the power of the Crown in Britain or the power of the revolutionary state in France. Property was, by the same token, the support of the intermediary institutions of society. He did not, however, want property to be monopolized by any one class in society. Access to property was a major need for Irish Catholics, who were deprived of it under the penal laws in their own country, as was the protection of the property of the people of India against the depredations of the East India Company. Burke certainly regarded property as the spur to industry and the source of national prosperity. But primarily he regarded it as the material base of constitutional liberty under a government of limited powers and, more broadly, of a civilized and cultivated society. He was not the bourgeois capitalist that C. B. Macpherson makes him out to be, or the hired philosopher of the Whig oligarchy depicted by J. B. Plumb and Frank O'Gorman. Nor did he "declare war on the poor," as Gertrude Himmelfarb charged in her The Idea of Poverty. Rightly or wrongly, he admired paternalistic government by the rich and virtuous (as he thought the Rockingham Whigs to be), who would govern as trustees for the benefit of the whole people. In short, Burke was a Whig, not a nineteenth-century Manchester liberal or Social Darwinist.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823215904
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1994
  • Edition description: 2
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 185
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Francis Canavan, S.J., is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Fordham University.

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Table of Contents

Short Titles, Primary Sources
1 Burke's World 1
2 The Soul That Animated 24
3 The Stability of Property 47
4 Property and Government 70
5 True Whigs and True Whiggism 97
6 Burke's Economics 116
7 The French Revolution 147
Works Cited 177
Index 181
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