I am doing a paper on Edmund Burke in my Eng Lit class.....I find this man fascinating. His views and intellignce are refreshing in a day and age where TV and lollypop celebs exsist. I took this bit of biography on him.
Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)
Edmund Burke © Burke was a hugely influential Anglo-Irish politician, orator and political thinker, notable for his strong support for the American Revolution and his fierce opposition to the French Revolution.
Edmund Burke was born in Dublin on 12 January 1729, the son of a solicitor. He was educated at Trinity College Dublin and then went to London to study law. He quickly gave this up and after a visit to Europe settled in London, concentrating on a literary and political career. He became an MP in 1765. He was closely involved in debates over limits to the power of the king, pressing for parliamentary control of royal patronage and expenditure.
Britain's imposition on America of measures including the Stamp Act in 1765 provoked violent colonial opposition. Burke argued that British policy had been inflexible and called for more pragmatism. He believed that government should be a co-operative relationship between rulers and subjects and that, while the past was important, a willingness to adapt to the inevitability of change could, hopefully, reaffirm traditional values under new circumstances.
He also maintained a keen interest in India. He concluded that Indian governmental corruption had to be resolved by removing patronage from interested parties. He proposed that India be governed by independent commissioners in London, but a bill to this end was defeated, prompting impeachment proceedings against Warren Hastings, the governor-general of Bengal.
However, the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 gave Burke his greatest target. He expressed his hostility in 'Reflections on the Revolution in France' (1790). The book provoked a huge response, including Thomas Paine's 'The Rights of Man'. Burke emphasised the dangers of mob rule, fearing that the Revolution's fervour was destroying French society. He appealed to the British virtues of continuity, tradition, rank and property and opposed the Revolution to the end of his life.
Burke retired from Parliament in 1794. His last years were clouded by the death of his only son, but he continued to write and defend himself from his critics. His arguments for long-lived constitutional conventions, political parties, and the independence of an MP once elected still carry weight. He is justly regarded as one of the founders of the British Conservative tradition. He died on 9 July 1797.
Now my favorite quotes fomr this genuis of a man is detailed below. A few that spoke to me strongly I gave my own opinion of that particular quote....ENJOY!
"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."
"He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper."
"Despotism of the multitude ... [however] democracy is the only tolerable form into which human society can be thrown, that a man is not permitted to hesitate about its merits, without the suspicion of being a friend to tyranny, that is, of being a foe to mankind?"
"The human mind is often in a state neither of pain nor pleasure, which I call a state of indifference."
"To love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of publick affections."
"A man that breeds a family without competent means of maintenance, encumbers other men with his children."
"No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear."
"All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter we give and take; we remit some rights, that we may enjoy others."
"Philosophical happiness is to want little. Civil or vulgar happiness is to want much, and to enjoy much."
"History is a preceptor of prudence, not of principles."
"It would be well if gentlemen, before they joined in a cry against any establishment, had well considered for what purpose that cry is raised."
"It is not, what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice, tell me I ought to do."
"Liberty without wisdom, and without virtue is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint."
"Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, can never willingly abandon it."
"They who make a man an idol, when he is off his pedestal will treat him with all the contempt with which blind and angry worshippers treat an idol that is fallen."
"I always distinguish between a man's talkative and writative character."
"All which a man without authority can give, -- his unbiased opinion, his honest advice, and his best reasons."
"You think you are combating prejudice, but you are at war with nature."
"That the critical taste does not depend upon a superior principle in men, but upon superior knowledge."
"The degree of estimation in which any profession is held becomes the standard of the estimation in which the professors hold themselves."
"Prosperity is not apt to receive good lessons, nor always to give them."
"Power is a very corrupting thing, especially low and jobbish power."
"The operation of opinion being in the inverse ratio to the number of those who abuse power."
"Property, left undefended by principles, became a repository of spoils to tempt cupidity."
"Property was not made by government, but government by and for it. The one is primary and self-existent; the other is secondary and derivative."
"We begin to think and to act from reason and from nature alone."
"A populace never rebels from passion for attack, but from impatience of suffering."
"[Re: French Revolution] I thought that ten thousand swords would have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her [Marie Antoinette] with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded." ( <~~ LOVED this one.....take a look at my "internet dating" blog i recently posted!! This is SOOOOO TRUE!!! All brawn NO BRAINS anymore...minus a few heroes....* got mine!! *~Dena )
"A revolution will be the very last resource of the thinking and the good."
"... all that wise men ever aim at is to keep things from coming to the worst. Those who expect perfect reformations, either deceive or are deceived miserably."
"Your mob can do this [pulling down and destroying social institutions] as well at least as your assemblies. The shallowest understanding, the rudest hand is more than equal to that task. Rage and frenzy will pull down more in half an hour than prudence, deliberation, and foresight can build up in a hundred years. The errors and defects of old establishments are visible and palpable. It calls for little ability to point them out ... No difficulties occur in what has never been tried. Criticism is almost baffled in discovering the defects of what has not existed; and eager enthusiasm and cheating hope have all the wide field of imagination in which they may expatiate with little or no opposition." (<~~~This is SO VALID today!!! Take a look at the Iraqi war!!! ~Dena )
"It required an unbroken attention, to form a true judgment."
"Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure -- but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico, or tobacco, or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to be looked on with other reverence, because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born."
"Superstition is the religion of feeble minds." ( KINDA reminds me of RELIGION!!! SUPERSTITION....VS..... RELIGIONS.....HMMMM ~Dena )
"The most unjust and impolitick of all things, unequal taxation."
"All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter. ... Man acts from motives relative to his interests; and not on metaphysical speculations." ( <~~ ONE OF MY ALLTIME FAVORITE QUOTES EVER!~Dena )
"We owe an implicit reverence to all the institutions of our ancestors."
"When full grown, it [vanity] is the worst of vices, and the occasional mimic of them all. It makes the whole man false."
"It is the interest of the commercial world that wealth should be found everywhere."