Conservatism: From John Adams to Churchill

Conservatism: From John Adams to Churchill

Conservatism: From John Adams to Churchill

Conservatism: From John Adams to Churchill

Excerpt

This brief new history of conservatism is planned for two audiences: the serious general reader and the college community. There have been excellent lengthier works, often intended for partisans or for specialists, but none aiming to meet the need for a concise, balanced picture and for an anthology (Part II of this book) of the chief conservative writers.

Across America, conservatism is being hotly debated without definition or historical context. The first chapter defines conservatism itself; the second, its special technical terms; the third describes its changing historical context; the rest deal with its actual thinkers and statesmen. After each main conservative thesis, the anti-conservative rebuttal is summarized (cf. page 17), and the reader is allowed to reach his own conclusions. Though the first stress is on conservative political philosophy (from John Adams to Churchill), key sections also stress non-political conservatism: in religion (Cardinal Newman) and in the primarily cultural protest against material progress (Coleridge, Dostoyevsky, Melville, Henry Adams).

Every major point made in Part I, the narrative section, is concretely illustrated by an appended cross-reference to a primary source in Part II, the document anthology. Some of the challenging foreign documents are not elsewhere available in English, either because they are out of print (Maistre, Cortés, Barrès, Pobiedonostsev), untranslated (Gentz, Burckhardt), or unsatisfactorily translated (Nietzsche). Accordingly the author has made his own translations where necessary, as noted in footnotes.

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