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La 9 Iulie, 1797 moare la Beaconsfield, Anglia Edmunde Burke (n. 12 ianuarie 1729 Dublin, Irlanda), a fost un om de stat irlandez, autor, orator, teoretician politic și filosof, care după ce s-a mutat la Londra în 1750 a servit ca membru al parlamentului între 1766 și 1794 în Casa Comunelor ca reprezentant al Partidului Whig
“Pentru ca răul să triumfe, este suficient ca cei buni să nu facă nimic.”
“Tiranilor le lipsesc rareori pretextele.”
“Marile imperii, sufletele mici şi creierele mărginite se îmbolnăvesc împreună.”
“Există o limită peste care răbdarea excesivă încetează de a mai fi o virtute.”
“Cei care au mult de nădăjduit şi nimic de pierdut vor fi întotdeauna periculoşi.”
Burke was a proponent of underpinning virtues with manners in society and of the importance of religious institutions for the moral stability and good of the state.
These views were expressed in his A Vindication of Natural Society. He criticized the actions of the British government towards the American colonies, including its taxation policies. Burke also supported the rights of the colonists to resist metropolitan authority, although he opposed the attempt to achieve independence. He is remembered for his support for Catholic emancipation, the impeachment of Warren Hastings from the East India Company, and his staunch opposition to the French Revolution.
In his Reflections on the Revolution in France, Burke asserted that the revolution was destroying the fabric of good society and traditional institutions of state and society and condemned the persecution of the Catholic Church that resulted from it. This led to his becoming the leading figure within the conservative faction of the Whig Party which he dubbed the Old Whigs as opposed to the pro-French Revolution New Whigs led by Charles James Fox.
In the 19th century, Burke was praised by both conservatives and liberals.
Subsequently in the 20th century, he became widely regarded as the philosophical founder of modern conservatism.
Burke was born in Dublin, Ireland. His mother Mary, née Nagle (c. 1702–1770), was a Roman Catholic who hailed from a déclassé County Cork family and a cousin of the Catholic educator Nano Naglewhereas his father Richard (died 1761), a successful solicitor, was a member of the Church of Ireland. It remains unclear whether this is the same Richard Burke who converted from Catholicism.
The Burke dynasty descends from an Anglo-Norman knight surnamed de Burgh (Latinised as de Burgo), who arrived in Ireland in 1185 following Henry II of England’s 1171 invasion of Ireland and is among the chief Gall or Old English families that assimilated into Gaelic society, becoming „more Irish than the Irish themselves”.
Burke adhered to his father’s faith and remained a practising Anglican throughout his life, unlike his sister Juliana who was brought up as and remained a Roman Catholic.
Later, his political enemies repeatedly accused him of having been educated at the Jesuit College of St. Omer, near Calais, France; and of harbouring secret Catholic sympathies at a time when membership of the Catholic Church would disqualify him from public office (see Penal Laws in Ireland). As Burke told Frances Crewe:
Mr. Burke’s Enemies often endeavoured to convince the World that he had been bred up in the Catholic Faith, & that his Family were of it, & that he himself had been educated at St. Omer—but this was false, as his father was a regular practitioner of the Law at Dublin, which he could not be unless of the Established Church: & it so happened that though Mr. B—was twice at Paris, he never happened to go through the Town of St. Omer.
After being elected to the House of Commons, Burke was required to take the oath of allegiance and abjuration, the oath of supremacy and declare against transubstantiation.
Although never denying his Irishness, Burke often described himself as „an Englishman”. According to the historian J. C. D. Clark, this was in an age „before ‘Celtic nationalism’ sought to make Irishness and Englishness incompatible”.
As a child, Burke sometimes spent time away from the unhealthy air of Dublin with his mother’s family in the Blackwater Valley in County Cork. He received his early education at a Quaker school in Ballitore, County Kildare, some 67 kilometres (42 mi) from Dublin; and possibly like his cousin Nano Nagle at a Hedge school.
He remained in correspondence with his schoolmate from there, Mary Leadbeater, the daughter of the school’s owner, throughout his life.
In 1744, Burke started at Trinity College Dublin, a Protestant establishment which up until 1793 did not permit Catholics to take degrees.
In 1747, he set up a debating society Edmund Burke’s Club which in 1770 merged with TCD’s Historical Club to form the College Historical Society, the oldest undergraduate society in the world. The minutes of the meetings of Burke’s Club remain in the collection of the Historical Society. Burke graduated from Trinity in 1748. Burke’s father wanted him to read Law and with this in mind he went to London in 1750, where he entered the Middle Temple, before soon giving up legal study to travel in Continental Europe. After eschewing the Law, he pursued a livelihood through writing.