The Conservative Intellectual Tradition in America

Session 2: Edmund Burke and the Origins of Modern Conservatism

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Guest Lecturer: David Armstrong Norcross, Esq.View a short interview regarding this theme

Themes: Overview of ideas and circumstances surrounding the origins of modern conservatism; the Burke-Paine debate over the nature of liberty, the foundations of state and society, and human rights; the significance of private property; contrasting conservatism and 18th century liberalism.


Recorded: 1/25/2012

Required Reading:

Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England in Four Books, Chapter 1: Of the Absolute Rights of Individuals, §122–128

Burke, Edmund. Select Works of Edmund Burke, Vol. 2: Reflections on the Revolution in France (p. 136–144, 151–157, 159–176)

Campbell, William. “Blackstone’s Law and Economics”

Kirk, Russell. “Edmund Burke: A Revolution of Theoretic Dogma,” The Essential Russell Kirk (p. 138152)

Kirk, Russell. “Three Pillars of Order: Edmund Burke, Samuel Johnson, Adam Smith”

Paine, Thomas. Selections, Common Sense, in David Hollinger and Charles Capper, The American Intellectual Tradition: Volume I – 1630 to 1865

Paine, Thomas. Selections, The Rights of Man in The Portable Enlightenment Reader (p. 469–472)

Stanlis, Peter. “Ideology and the Revolutionary Spirit”

Recommended Reading:

Burke, Edmund. Speech on Conciliation with the Colonies, March 22, 1775

Burke, Edmund. Thoughts and Details on Scarcity

Petrella, Frank. “Edmund Burke: A Liberal Practitioner of Political Economy”

Preece, Rod.  “The Political Economy of Edmund Burke”

Winthrop, John. “A Modell of Christian Charity,” in David Hollinger and Charles Capper, The American Intellectual Tradition: Volume I – 1630 to 1865 (see also this link)

Nisbet, Robert A. Conservatism: Dream and Reality. Open University Press, 1986.

Course Overview

Section One: Introduction
Section Two: The Foundations of American Conservatism
Section Three: The 20th Century and the Recovery of a Conservative Tradition
Section Four: Conservative Triumph, Consensus, and Crisis