Dr. David Frisk, Theodore J. Eismeier Fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute, will join with leaders of the AHI Undergraduate Fellows program, to direct a reading cluster devoted to the writings of Edmund Burke. Participants will read “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents”; “Miscellaneous Writings (Select Works of Edmund Burke)”; “Reflections on the Revolution in France”; “Further Reflections on the Revolution in France”; and “Letters on a Regicide Peace,” all handsomely republished by Liberty Fund.
Edmund Burke (1729-1797) ranks as one of the eighteenth century’s leading statesmen and political thinkers. “You could not stand five minutes with that man beneath a shed while it rained,” observed Samuel Johnson, one of Britain’s most influential men of letters, “but you must be convinced you had been standing with the greatest man you had ever yet seen. Burke is often considered the founder of conservative political philosophy. He was the intellectual leader of the Whig party in the late 18th century. He is best known as the most persuasive opponent of the French Revolution, which he rejected due to its radicalism, lack of political realism, and violence.
Conservatives, classical liberals, and many present-day liberals all find much wisdom in Burke. In addition, he has long been considered one of the greatest writers and speakers in the Anglo-American political tradition. The reading group will address the following topics: Burke on the British political system (king-and-parliament, hereditary aristocracy, limited government, the common law, and individual rights); Burke on the evolution of the pro-liberty Whig party in his lifetime; Burke on religious tolerance; and Burke on the French Revolution, including how Britain should respond to this earth-shaking event.