Eighty years have passed since a young Cambridge don named Herbert Butterfield published in a slender volume entitled The Whig. The former Master of Peterhouse, Herbert Butterfield, has become something of a Less a book than a lengthy essay, The Whig Interpretation of History is a. Herbert Butterfield (). The Whig Interpretation of History [All footnotes are editorial; relevant online materials: Butterfield Papers at the Cambridge.

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Back to 21 See Kenyon, p. We are all of us exultant and unrepentant whigs.

The Whig Interpretation of History – Herbert Butterfield – Google Books

After a false start, he eventually came under the tutelage of Harold Temperley, about whom Bentley is scathing. Butterfield was a devout Christian and interprretation at length on Christian influences in historical perspectives. Obama was reaching for a similar point on Monday, emphasizing as President Obama often does that the strengths of the United States spring in part from its ugly, painful past.

Essays on Media and Society James W. Oct 14, Brenton rated it really liked it. Interesting, but majorly repetitive. Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge — Back to 2 David Cannadine, G.

Tawney and Harold Temperley. Back to 16 See also Sewell, pp. Bentley goes to great lengths to exonerate Butterfield from the charge of being a fellow-traveller — more than is necessary I suspect. Christianity, diplomacy and war.

It brings to light overlooked assumptions and presents a sharp critique of historians who simplify history and adore it only for what it can give to the present. Of course Butterfield would not be the first practising historian to struggle with the world of conceptualising historical practise. However, Butterfield does not seem to contradict the idea that the past may offer some use, perhaps through exposing human nature or the power of chance? To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.


Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge — He needed a new publication, and quickly.

He looks for agency in history. At the same time, Butterfield’s early works emphasized the limits of a historian’s moral conclusions, “If history can do anything it is to remind us that all our judgments are merely relative to time and circumstance”.

His Christian beliefs in personal sin, salvation and providence were a great influence in his writings, a fact he freely admitted. Kenyon, Ov History Men 2nd ed.

Eliohs – Butterfield – The Whig Interpretation of History – Preface

The Englishman and His History. Trevelyan butyerfield, London,p. The progressive historian makes no attempt to get inside the minds of what a person thought and how he lived in order to understand the facts of history.

Though Whig historians are no longer in the interpregation, this is a good antidote for reading history as if it were a story that leads to your particular view of the present. Thanks for telling us about the problem.

In my view, Buttefield absolutely suggests the past should be valued as an intrinsic end, something which should be valued, understood and explored of its own right, rather than to reassert some pre-existing position. September Index Preface 1.


History and Judgements of Value 5.

The Whig Interpretation of History

This is imposing a 21st century view of equality onto a people group several generations back. Two articles — one on the origins of the Seven Years War and one on Lord Acton and the Massacre of Bartholomew — acted as a prelude to his Wiles lectures, published in as Man on his Past.

Working from an extended examination of the Reformation, Butterfield breaks down how a Whig progressive interpretation of history inherently dilutes historical inquiry into a simple chain of cause and effect flavored with a heady dose of moral indignation.

George III and the historians. Clearly one of the targets was Acton; to him Bentley feels we must add R. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I butterdield re-read sections this weekend. History assembles facts from primary sources and then tells a narrative to help laypeople understand how they fit together. InButterfield was awarded the University Member’s Prize for English Essay, writing on the subject of English novelist Charles Dickens and the way in which the author straddled the fields of history and literature. After Butterfield increasingly turned to the study of historiography.