The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left

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Basic Books, Dec 3, 2013 - History - 296 pages
43 Reviews
For more than two centuries, our political life has been divided between a party of progress and a party of conservation. In The Great Debate, Yuval Levin explores the origins of the left/right divide by examining the views of the men who best represented each side of that debate at its outset: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. In a groundbreaking exploration of the roots of our political order, Levin shows that American partisanship originated in the debates over the French Revolution, fueled by the fiery rhetoric of these ideological titans.

Levin masterfully shows how Burke's and Paine’s differing views, a reforming conservatism and a restoring progressivism, continue to shape our current political discourse—on issues ranging from abortion to welfare, education, economics, and beyond. Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand Washington’s often acrimonious rifts, The Great Debate offers a profound examination of what conservatism, liberalism, and the debate between them truly amount to.
 

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Review: The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left

User Review  - Conner Wood - Goodreads

Very well-researched, decently organized. Writing style distracts significantly from the content -- unnecessarily opaque, verbose ivory-tower gobbledegook. Author's Burkean bias is noticeable but ... Read full review

Review: The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left

User Review  - Paul Frandano - Goodreads

A fascinating, well written exploration of the core political writings of the two key 18th century thinkers on revolution and counterrevolution. Levin strains for objectivity and balance in addressing ... Read full review

All 2 reviews »

Contents

ONE Two Lives in the Arena
1
TWO Nature and History
43
THREE Justice and Order
69
FOUR Choice and Obligation
91
SEVEN Generations and the Living
205
Conclusion
223
Acknowledgments
233
Bibliography
259
Index
267
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Yuval Levin is the Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the founder and editor of National Affairs. A contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and National Review, he lives in Maryland.

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