The war of Independence was virtually a second English civil war. The ruin of the American cause would have been also the ruin of the constitutional cause in England; and a patriotic Englishman may revere the memory of Patrick Henry and George Washington not less justly than the patriotic American. Burke’s attitude in this great contest is that part of his history about the majestic and noble wisdom of which there can be least dispute.
John Morley‘s life of Edmund Burke (1879)
3 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”
Way back when I was much younger, but after I graduated the University of Chicago, I attended graduate school in the History Department of the U of Michigan. I studied American History for a while, concluded I had made a mistake, and went to law school. Many years later, still loving to study history, I read the portions of David Hume’s History of England that covered the seventeenth century. (excellent editions very inexpensive and well made, also available for downloads http://oll.libertyfund.org/).
A light went on in my head. The American Revolution and the US Constitution were continuations of and responses to the English Civil War. The Americans had rejected the legitimacy of Hanoverian rule, but had accepted Whig political thought. Many phrases in the US Constitution were taken from the Parliamentary debates of the Civil War.
The American Civil War was not just the resolution of a tension in the American order, but it too involved the Mother Country. England did not side with the CSA for domestic political reasons, even though its material interest would have lead it in that direction.
A few years ago Kevin Phillips, who has some nutty leftists ideas, wrote: “The Cousins’ Wars: Religion, Politics, Civil Warfare, And The Triumph Of Anglo-America”
It is still on my bulging shelf of books I have not yet gotten around to.
Oh, but you must read The Cousins’ Wars. Put the other stuff aside and just do it.
This reminds me of The True History of the American Revolution. Modern Americans see the Revolution as a war of Americans versus Brits, when it was really a war of Whigs against Tories — and many of the British generals were Whigs.
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