The following study deals with “the whig interpretation of history” in what I conceive to be the accepted meaning of the phrase. At least it covers all that is. [All footnotes are editorial; relevant online materials: Butterfield Papers at the Cambridge University Library; E. Royle, The “Whig” Interpretation of History and its. His most widely known work is still The Whig Interpretation of History. saw the publication of the book Butterfield is most associated with. Less a book than.

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Influences Harold Temperley [1]. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. September Index Preface 1.

Interesting, but majorly repetitive. Butterfield thought that individual personalities were more important than great systems of government or economics in historical study. In he was elected to the chair of Modern History, and from — he was master of Peterhouse, as well as holding the vice-chancellorship of the university between and Yistory 14, Allan Williams rated it really liked it Shelves: The then-Regius professor sent Butterfield the Fox papers which had been in his care suggesting that Butterfield might like to write a biography of him — not the sort of invitation one declined.


He is especially useful for early 21st Cent Americans because he pushed against the cartoonish and reductionistic tendency to render Protestantism as “liberal” or “modern” and Roman Catholicism as “conservative” or “traditional. And its theses would be unaffected by anything the philosopher could state to explain them or to explain them away. I wnig appreciated his point that the past must be measured by its own merits and studied within its own context rather than in light of what it contributed to the present.


I can accept complex, messy, unsettling meaning, but let me draw some meaning. In addition, Butterfield considers how the historian should view the past from the perspective of the present, and the utility of the past for modern citizens. Born inButterfield went up to Cambridge in At the same time, he was given the Seeley Medal.

Excellent analysis of Whig history–that is, defining the past in terms of the present. No trivia or quizzes yet. Views Read Edit View history.

Herbert Butterfield

Butterfield turned increasingly to historiography and man’s developing view of the past. Working from an extended examination of the Refo In Bktterfield Whig Interpretation of History, Herbert Butterfield presages the hyper-political and hyper-moralizing nature of modern history and historiography, in which the past is measured by the present and history is shown as a linear evolution towards progress.

Butterfield was a devout Christian and reflected at length on Christian influences in historical perspectives. Reading this book was like watching someone put five coats of high gloss paint on a rotten board. It is possible to histoty an origins story for aesthetic purposes — and, I would argue, bringing the present into question may be the historian’s most important task.

Moral Judgements in History. Butterfield spends too much space up front arguing that historians shouldn’t seek out the origins of or analogies to current phenomena, but instead should point out the differentness of the past in order to make it comprehensible to us.

After Butterfield increasingly turned to the study of historiography. Wikiquote has quotations related to: I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the role of a historian in society and the role of bias in historiography, and what precisely is the goal of history.


Whig interpretation of history

Nathan rated it really liked it Jan 14, The Whig Interpretation of History. There is one mind common to all individual men A much needed–still, after all these years–call for humility and restraint for the historian. The Whig interpretation of history is now a general label applied to various historical interpretations. While we can look back and say that the Civil Rights Movement was a good thing, we can easily whhig into trouble from a historical perspective when we throw the baby out with the bathwater in making overarching moral judgements on those who did not support the movement.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Butterfield presents a monumental thesis on our interpretation of history– especially for Americans.

Historians have an incredible task set forth for them, one that requires them to butterfkeld at history and make subjective statements about those events. Back to 4 J. The Art of the Historian 6. In his biography of G. University of Chicago Press, 2nd ed.

The Life and Thought of Herbert Butterfield | Reviews in History

Jun 30, Mike Horne rated it it was amazing. Christianity, diplomacy and war.

He is right to decry the simplified, airbrushed, progressive Whiggish history.

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