Edmund Burke

3 Jun, 2010 320 Political science

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work of the eighteenth-century philosopher, politician and writer Edmund Burke.Born in Dublin, Burke began his career in London as a journalist and made his name with two works of philosophy before entering Parliament. There he quickly established a reputation as one of the most formidable orators of an age which also included Pitt the Younger.When unrest began in America in the 1760s, Burke was quick to defend the American colonists in their uprising. But it was his response to another revolution which ensured he would be remembered by posterity. In 1790 he published Reflections on the Revolution in France, a work of great literary verve which attacked the revolutionaries and predicted disaster for their project. The book prompted Thomas Paine to write his masterpiece Rights of Man, and Mary Wollstonecraft was among the others to take part in the ensuing pamphlet war. Burke’s influence shaped our parliamentary democracy and attitude to Empire, and lingers today.

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  • Karen O'Brien 16 episodes
    Professor of English at the University of Warwick
  • Richard Bourke 3 episodes
    Senior Lecturer in History at Queen Mary, University of London
  • John Keane 6 episodes
    Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1790, 18 months after the storming of the Bastille, a British MP published a pamphlet which condemned the French Revolution and accused its supporters of bringing anarchy, violence and terror to the population of France.