The Whig Interpretation of History

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1965 - History - 132 pages
2 Reviews
It is not as easy to understand the past as many who have written it would have us believe. The historians who look at it from the Protestant, progressive, "19th Century gentleman" viewpoint are defined by Professor Butterfield as "the Whig historians." The Whig historian studies the past with reference to the present. He looks for agency in history. And, in his search for origins and causes, he can easily select those facts that give support to his thesis and thus eliminate other facts equally important to the total picture.
 

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User Review  - geoffreymeadows - LibraryThing

This was a good book, attacking some unnecessary assumptions, while encouraging the pursuit of historical questions. To me, this was a statement in favor of history's independence from the dominance ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jontseng - LibraryThing

Read today comes across as tamer (and more obvious in hindsight) that its reputation suggests. Like much of Butterfield's work elegant and teasing - you think its saying something important but you're not quite sure what it actually is. Read full review

Contents

THE UNDERLYING ASSUMPTION
9
THE HISTORICAL PROCESS
34
HISTORY AND JUDGMENTS OF VALUE
64
THE ART OF THE HISTORIAN
90
MORAL JUDGMENTS IN HISTORY
107
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About the author (1965)

Sir Herbert Butterfield was Regius Professor of History and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.[2] As a British historian and philosopher of history, he is remembered chiefly for two books, a short volume early in his career entitled The Whig Interpretation of History (1931) and his Origins of Modern Science (1949). Over the course of his career, Butterfield turned increasingly to historiography and man's developing view of the past. Butterfield was a devout Christian and reflected at length on Christian influences in historical perspectives.

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