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Download Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution epub

by Christopher Hill

Download Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution epub
ISBN: 0198213212
ISBN13: 978-0198213215
Category: History
Author: Christopher Hill
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press (March 1965)
Pages: 348 pages
ePUB size: 1579 kb
FB2 size: 1891 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 357
Other Formats: mbr lit rtf lrf

Table of Contents
Pt. I The Original Text
1 Introduction 3
2 London Science and Medicine 15
3 Francis Bacon and the Parliamentarians 77
4 Ralegh: Science, History, and Politics 118
5 Sir Edward Coke: Myth-maker 201
6 Conclusion 237
Appendix A Note on the Universities 268
Pt. II The New Chapters for the Revised Edition
7 Introduction: 'These mighty things God hath wrought' 285
8 Religion, Politics, and Economics 293
9 Bacon, Ralegh, Coke 308
10 William Tyndale and English History 312
11 Feudal Tenures 318
12 The Many-Headed Monster 327
13 A Three-Sided Revolution 338
14 Secularization and Other Influences 343
15 Unfinished Business 350
16 Scottish Political Thought and James VI and I 357
17 The Norman Yoke 361
18 Venetian Observers 366
19 Literature and Revolution 375
Postscript 398
Index 401
The first two paragraphs here have been used elsewhere in reviews of Professor Hill's work.

"The name and work of the late British Marxist historian Christopher Hill should be fairly well known to readers of this space who follow my reviews on the subject of the 17th century English Revolution that has legitimately been described as the first one of the modern era and that has had profound repercussions, especially on the American Revolution and later events on this continent. Christopher Hill started his research in the 1930's under the tremendous influence of Karl Marx on the sociology of revolution, the actuality of the Soviet experience in Russia and world events such as the Great Depression of that period and the lead up to World War II.

Although Hill was an ardent Stalinist, seemingly to the end, his works since they were not as subjected to the conforming pressures of the Soviet political line that he adhered to are less influenced by that distorting pressure. More importantly, along the way Professor Hill almost single-handedly brought to life the under classes that formed the backbone of the plebeian efforts during that revolution. We would, surely know far less about Ranters, panters, Shakers, Quakers and fakers without the sharp eye of the good professor. All to the tune of, and in the spirit of John Milton's "Paradise Lost", except instead of trying to explain the ways of god to man the Professor tried to explain ways of our earlier plebeian brothers and sisters to us."

In "Intellectual Origins Of The English Revolution" Professor Hill takes a little different tact than we are used to from the core of his work. Previously in this space I have reviewed his works as they pertain more directly to various intellectual influences at the time of the revolution itself, most notably "The World Turned Upside Down", or as in the case of his muse John Milton and others the effects of the defeat of the ideas thrown up by that revolution. Here Hill goes back to Elizabethan and Jacobean times to round out his historical researches.

As noted above, Professor Hill used his knowledge of Marxist methodology to frame his work. A core tenet of the Marxist method is a belief in historical materialism, which is a belief that one cannot understand history and the evolution of humankind's world without putting the previous pieces of the puzzle together to understand the present. Although we make our history, as Marx pointed out; we may not always like the result. We must nevertheless push forward our understanding if there is to be progress. That is the sense that Professor Hill is trying to drive home here as he looks at three basic personalities and their contributions from the pre-revolutionary period as the forerunners to the revolution. After reading this work one has a better understanding of the forces that were striving to be "aborning" than if one solely looked within the parameters of the revolutionary period itself.

Professor Hill's starts his three studies by exploring the work of Francis Bacon and his struggle to attain a more scientific way to approach solving questions concerning the natural world and its exploitation. Although Bacon placed these efforts at the service of the English state and church as a more rational approach to the religion experience it is hard to understand the modern world without tipping one's hat to his sometimes uneven fight to establish the scientific method.

Hill then goes on to the explorer, man of the world and master in-sider politician Sir Walter Raleigh. It is again hard to understand the modern world without paying homage to the exploits of the explorers of the then known world, those who wanted to "globalize" the English state and those who went about doing that while at the same time trying to puzzle out the nature of history and politics. Lastly, the good professor argues that the work of Sir Edward Coke in codifying the English common law (sometimes bizarrely and not without self-interest) and thus the rule of law that were critical for the expansion and recognition of private property rights that were to be one of the lasting effects of the English revolution.

While one can, and I partially do, dispute the weight of the works of the men on the English Revolution that form the core of Professor Hill's argument here his argument is as always well presented and, needless to say, well documented. I would only add that a more appropriate title would be "A Few Of The Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution". Nevertheless, kudos Professor.
In his book on the Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution, Christopher Hill intends to define and analyze the background of ideas, knowledge, and beliefs shared by Englishmen prior to English Revolution. His purpose is not to explain the intellectual causes of the revolution, for he never connects specifically connects English thought with the Revolution.

Hill is interested in the practical ideas, knowledge, and beliefs that affected common men and that they formed in their occupations or professions. Hill organizes the core of the first edition of his book around Bacon, Ralegh, and Coke. However, even in the main text and certainly in the additional chapters of the revised edition, he takes a broad look at scores of navigators, shipwrights, mechanics, doctors, inventors, merchants, astrologers and astronomers, students and professors, philosophers and simpletons, chemists and alchemists, heretics and clergymen. By studying the influence of broad currents of practical thought rather than only high philosophy, Hill does not come to any definite conclusions about how thinking produced revolution. His work still has value, however, for instead of arbitrarily identifying only a few intellectual causes he gives an accurate portrayal of many other intellectual currents (though not the causes) affecting Englishmen before the Revolution.

Just as important to Hill's methods and conclusions as what he studies is what he ignores. In his preface to the book, he states that he intends to avoid what are typically considered causes of the English Revolution: politics, Puritanism, and religion. His reason for doing so is to isolate the intellectual origins. However, by ignoring Puritanism, religious beliefs, and political opinions he is ignoring what are in fact intellectual trends, just not the intellectual trends that he has decided to study.

Hill's primary theme is that the intellectual origins of the English Revolution were economic. This economic theme is a product of his method, for by focusing on the ideas that workingmen formed at their occupations and ignoring religious and political ideas, he has only an economic base from which to draw inferences. At his core, Hill is a Marxist, and his Marxist interpretations are obvious if not overt. His allusions to Marx are frequent and reverent. By ignoring elites, politics, and religion and focusing on workingmen's thoughts, Hill exalts the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. Likewise, when he explicitly states that the English Revolution had a primarily economic impact, his conclusion is that English Revolution led to the Industrial Revolution.

Hill's most conspicuous flaw is his decision to divorce the intellectual background of the English Revolution from all other considerations, especially those considerations that he acknowledges are the more proximate causes of the Revolution. Rather than explain the political and religious developments that led to the Revolution, he describes only its intellectual background. But while Hill buries his reader's nose in books or sits him in a lecture at Gresham College, the other causes of the Revolution pass by the reader without remark. With the intellectual origins separated entirely from politics or religion, the reader never shown any of the complex interrelationships between political, economic, and religious forces. Presumably, the men whose thought he describes did not just think but also acted, but Hill tries to avoid that implication. Furthermore, a complete separation between intellectual causes on the one hand and political and religious causes on the other is artificial. Whatever the differences may be between those two groups of causes, politics and religion have strong intellectual components, and intellect has a strong ideological component. Indeed, if politics can be completely separated from intellect then the title of the book is a non sequitur, for how then could a political and religious revolution have intellectual origins?

Closely related to Hill's decision to separate the intellectual origins from all other causes of the Revolution is his decision not to make any conclusive generalizations about the intellectual origins. The reader justly hopes that by reading these books he will gain a comprehensive understanding of the intellectual currents flowing into the English Revolution. But after the reader has worked through a mass of detail and seen brief glimpses of how many individuals contributed to the Revolution, Hill's only conclusion is that no conclusion can be drawn. Hill cites several reasons that he does not generalize: the scope of the subject; the need for further study; continuing research in the field which makes any conclusions tentative. As the acknowledged expert in his field, it is Hill's prerogative to leave the intellectual origins without generalization. But though he does not mention it, the most significant reason why Hill cannot generalize is his own decision to isolate the intellectual origins. Hill is the victim of his own method. By choosing to examine intellectual origins and consequences apart from the primary causes and consequences of the English Revolution, Hill threw away the means by which he could have made generalizations about his subject. Indeed, by divorcing English thought from English politics, religion, and society, he discarded the very reason for studying his subject. Hill's statement in his conclusion that, though he tried to avoid politics and Puritanism, he always found himself coming back to them in the end is almost an admission that his method was artificial.
US115 for the ebook version? Is that a typo?