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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A series of lectures given at the behest of the religious faculty at Cambridge was published in as Christianity and Historya book which went on to sell 30, copies in four years. Butterfield thought individual personalities more important than great systems of government or economics in historical study.

The Whig Interpretation of History – Herbert Butterfield – Google Books

One of my favorites. Diplomatic history was traditionally a fairly dry subject, often consisting of what one butterfifld said to another. This was actually the second time I read this — first was back in ’93 but seemed like a good time to re-read it after finishing volume two of Macaulay’s History of England from the Accession of James the Secondand it’s a quick read. The London Gazette Supplement.

Fair enough, but I’m willing to step out and make the claim that Pol Pot was hergert wicked man. Jun 30, Mike Horne rated it it was amazing.

The Whig Interpretation of History

It’s a fascinating discussion of how history is written by the winners– the protestant, liberal, democratic winners. The subject is hisfory not as a problem in the philosophy of history, but rather as an aspect of the psychology of historians.


Nathan rated it really liked it Jan 14, Bell, Jul 02, Heather rated it liked it Shelves: Aug 28, Vicky P rated it it was amazing Shelves: Upon his death doctors found that he possessed only one functioning kidney; the other having been shrivelled since birth.

Retrieved from ” https: The Peace Tactics of Napoleon, Gamble’s Interpretatioj of History.

To tease out buttefrield strange and paradoxical character of events leading to familiar circumstances is to make not only the past, as Butterfield desires, but also the present strange and wonderful. Those who, perhaps in the misguided austerity of youth, wish to drive out that whig interpretation, that particular thesis which controls our abridgment of English history, are sweeping a room which humanly speaking cannot long remain empty.

Historians have an incredible task set forth for them, one that requires them to lo There are few books that I have read that have made huge impact on me, but I think Dr. The Whig interpretation of history is always “present looking”; in other words, how does history support what the present “good. Butterfield wanted his history to be evocative, the story of how people wrestled with buttedfield dilemmas in order to reach and carry their decisions. University of Chicago Press, 2nd ed. It was a rushed work, and contained at least one error of butterdield that Butterfield had to publicly apologise for.


Quotes from The Whig Interpre Retrieved 26 July 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.

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The Whig Interpretation of History by Herbert Butterfield

I think he makes a good point that history should not be a slave to our modern causes; that is, it isn’t there to serve our principles. To ask other readers questions about The Whig Interpretation of Historyplease sign up. These questions remind me personally of a remark from Mary Beard during a lecture on her latest novel SPQR, as she commented that ‘We have nothing to learn from the past’.

It is outside of the historical realm to impose what you believe is right or wrong into history. Sep 03, Angela Holt rated it it was ok Shelves: The lectures themselves were a disappointment — audience turnout was small and Butterfield himself was underprepared.

The following study deals with “the whig interpretation of history” in what I conceive to be the accepted meaning of the phrase. In calling for historians to present the complexity of history rather than a simplified chain of interpretatkon, Butterfield hits the mark.

Last modified: April 14, 2020