CRF Blog

The early thinking of Edmund Burke

by David De La Torre

In Freedom fighter, The Economist reviews The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke: From the Sublime and Beautiful to American Independence by David Bromwich.

Burke continued to fight for liberty later on in life. He backed Americans in their campaign for freedom from British taxation. He supported Catholic freedoms and freer trade with Ireland, in spite of his constituents’ ire. He wanted more liberal laws on the punishment of debtors. He even pushed to curb the slave trade in 1780, a quarter of a century before it was abolished. “The most shameful trade that ever the hardened heart of man could bear”, he called it in a speech to the House of Commons in 1789. At a time of mass political rebellion and a flurry of pharisaic independent MPs, Edmund Burke seems an ideal role model: a backbencher for all ages. [more]

For a free classroom lesson on Burke, see Edmund Burke: The Father of Conservatism from our Bill of Rights in Action Archive.