Eighty years have passed since a young Cambridge don named Herbert Butterfield published in a slender volume entitled The Whig. The former Master of Peterhouse, Herbert Butterfield, has become something of a Less a book than a lengthy essay, The Whig Interpretation of History is a. Herbert Butterfield (). The Whig Interpretation of History [All footnotes are editorial; relevant online materials: Butterfield Papers at the Cambridge.
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The London Gazette Supplement. But if that is all, historians and students of history alike are bound to end up banging their heads against that prohibitory glass wall. Over the course of his career, Butterfield turned tne to historiography and man’s developing view of the past.
The Whig Interpretation of History – Herbert Butterfield – Google Books
Retrieved from ” https: As a deeply religious Protestant, Butterfield was highly concerned with religious issues, but he did not believe that historians hwrbert uncover the hand of God in history. His Christian beliefs in personal sin, salvation, and providence heavily influenced his writings, a fact he freely admitted. Butterfield seems to argue that we cannot judge historical events or figures because we have to understand them in their time, not our own.
Back to 16 See also Sewell, pp. Working from an extended examination of interpretatiom Reformation, Butterfield breaks down how a Whig progressive interpretation of history inherently dilutes historical inquiry into a simple chain of cause and effect flavored with a heady dose of moral indignation.
What a beautiful little book!! At the time however, its merits were enough to convince the Master of Peterhouse to elect Hherbert to a History Fellowship alongside Temperley and Paul Vellacott. It is right that knowledge of this relationship should be included in a biography, but aside from telling us the fact that Peace Tactics of Napoleon was completed seven years before it was published, it does not really tell us anything new about Butterfield the historian.
But the history of science was not one triumphant march towards greater knowledge of nature, a fact both Butterfield and Kuhn recognised. Back to 5 E. It is an oversimplification to say that America was built on the framework of either system.
Return to Book Page. Jul 26, Daniel Jones rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Butterfield therefore raises some crucial issues with regard to historiography and the study of history.
And, in intfrpretation 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. However, from a historical point of view, history again is simply a recollection of facts put into a story.
The Whig Interpretation of History
Perhaps one is being too hard on Bentley here; given that this is to all intents hsitory purposes an official biography, one suspects he is trying to straddle two horses at the same time when he writes about this relationship.
A series of lectures herbedt at the behest of the religious faculty at Cambridge was published in as Christianity and Historya book which went on to sell 30, copies in four years. Take a very recent example in Michelle Obama. Influences Harold Temperley .
The then-Regius professor sent Butterfield the Fox papers which had been in his care suggesting that Butterfield might like to write a biography of him — not the sort of invitation one declined. Moral Judgements in History. University of Chicago Press, 2nd ed.
Butterfield turned increasingly to historiography and man’s developing view of the past. The origins of this book were hardly disinterested academic ones butterield during the academic session of —4 an unfreezing of positions presented an opportunity for Butterfield to occupy the Chair of Modern History and become Professor Butterfield.
A quick read, and justifiably a classic. Back ijterpretation 21 See Kenyon, p. Nov 14, Allan Williams rated it really liked it Shelves: A classic work in historiography. At the height of the Cold Warhe warned that conflicts between self-righteous value systems could be catastrophic:.
In some sense the choice of topic was a surprise; many had expected something on Fox; or perhaps the Whig interpretation of history. Historians have an incredible task set forth for them, one that requires them to look at history and make subjective statements about those events. 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. The Whig historian oversimplifies and overdramatizes, trying to draw similarities between the past and present that don’t take into effect the complexities of history.
But we can radically depart from truthful history, a history that is a reliable, when we interpret it in relation to the present. I think he underestimates the inevitability and, indeed, desirability of origins stories.
The Life and Thought of Herbert Butterfield | Reviews in History
It is possible to use an origins story for aesthetic purposes — and, I would argue, bringing the present into question may be the historian’s most important task. His Christian beliefs in personal sin, salvation and providence were a great influence in his writings, a fact he freely admitted. Butterfield saw an alarming trend in histories being written at that time.