Reflections On the Revolution In France


Reflections on the Revolution in France[1] is a political pamphlet written by the Irish statesman Edmund Burke and published in November 1790. One of the best-known intellectual attacks against the French Revolution,[2] Reflections is a defining tract of modern conservatism as well as an important contribution to international theory. Above all else, it has been one of the defining efforts of Edmund Burke's transformation of "traditionalism into a self-conscious and fully conceived political philosophy of conservatism".[3]

The pamphlet has not been easy to classify. Before seeing this work as a pamphlet, we should note that Burke wrote in the mode of a letter, invoking expectations of openness and selectivity that added a layer of meaning.[4] Academics have had trouble identifying whether Burke, or his tract, can best be understood as "a realist or an idealist, Rationalist or a Revolutionist".[5] Thanks to its thoroughness, rhetorical skill, and literary power, it has become one of the most widely known of Burke's writings and a classic text in political theory.[6] In the twentieth century, it greatly influenced conservative and classical liberal intellectuals, who recast Burke's Whiggish arguments as a critique of communist and revolutionary-socialist programmes.

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