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Edmund Burke in AmericaThe Contested Career of the Father of Modern Conservatism$
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Drew Maciag

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448959

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448959.001.0001

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Burke in Brief

Burke in Brief

A “Philosophical” Primer

(p.7) Chapter 1 Burke in Brief
Edmund Burke in America

Drew Maciag

Cornell University Press

This chapter is an overview of Burke's life and his “philosophies” in particular, which, when placed in the historical context, reveal that he is not entirely the conservative he is often perceived to be. Usually described as a British political philosopher, Burke was a prolific speaker and writer who is remembered chiefly as a critic of the French Revolution and as the “father of conservatism.” However, whatever “philosophy” Burke expounded was extracted by others from his pamphlets, letters, and orations, which were produced in the heat of political battle. This, in part, explains why he has been susceptible to differing interpretations. In historical context, however, he had little in common with many conservatives of his own day, and almost nothing in common with conservatism as it is practiced today. And far from being a conservative by the standards of his day, he was more the genuine reformer.

Keywords:   Edmund Burke, philosophies, conservatism, writings, political philosophy, speeches, life history, speaker

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