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Constructing Communities: Edmund Burke on Revolution

Jeff Spinner
Polity
Vol. 23, No. 3 (Spring, 1991), pp. 395-421
DOI: 10.2307/3235133
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3235133
Page Count: 27
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Constructing Communities: Edmund Burke on Revolution
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Abstract

Why did Edmund Burke support the American revolution but oppose the French? The usual explanation lies in Burke's support for tradition: the Americans were trying to restore their traditional rights, whereas the French broke radically with the past. This article finds that explanation incomplete. It does not, the author argues, explain many of the apparent discrepancies in Burke's writings on the two revolutions, and he looks to Burke's account of communities to explain the gaps in the usual explanation of his views.

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