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 Study of the History of Historical Scholarship. Historians have an incredible task set forth for them, one that requires them to look at history and make subjective statements about those events. This was actually the second time I read this — first was back in ’93 but seemed like a good time to re-read interpretayion after finishing volume two of Macaulay’s History of England from the Accession of James the Secondand it’s a quick read.

A classic work in historiography. The Whig Interpretation did not refer to Whig politicians, but to the 19th-century interpretation of history as one long triumphant march of progress. Butterfield therefore raises some crucial issues with regard to historiography and the study of history.

The Englishman and His History. What a beautiful little book!! Butterfield was a devout Christian and reflected at length on Christian influences in historical perspectives.

Eliohs – Butterfield – The Whig Interpretation of History – Preface

Mar 07, Becky Snow rated ijterpretation it was amazing. I don’t know how I feel about history. TrevelyanLondon,p. In addition, Butterfield considers how the historian should view the past from the perspective of the present, and the utility of the past for modern citizens.

Sep 13, Jonathan rated it really liked it Shelves: Nevertheless, Butterfield achieved a vaunted double first, and won the Le Bas prize, the winner of which saw their essay published by the Cambridge University Press.


I think he makes a good point that history should not be a slave to our modern causes; that is, it isn’t there to serve our principles.

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 22 September Pages containing London Gazette template with parameter supp set to y Webarchive template wayback links Webarchive template archiveis links Use dmy dates from April Use British English from April Infobox person using alma mater Articles with hCards Pages using Template: As a deeply religious Protestant, Butterfield was highly concerned with religious issues, but he did not believe that historians could uncover the hand of God in history.

However, as Butterfield himself might say, these things have to be looked at in context. But we want to do this, because it proves our own point politically, religiously, or economically in our current world. Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone.

The Life and Thought of Herbert Butterfield | Reviews in History

And he is right to point out that drawing simple, black butterrfield white moral judgments about past actions is a risky business. Paperbackpages. Despite his humble origins, receiving his education at the Trade and Grammar School in Keighleyin he won a scholarship to study at Peterhouse, Cambridgegraduating with a BA infollowed by an MA four years later.

Influenced Thomas Kuhn [2]. In he was elected to the chair of Modern History, and from — he was master of Peterhouse, as well as holding the vice-chancellorship of the ghe between and butterfiield Were they all bad people? Butterfield examines how this view of history not only does a great disservice to the advancement of human knowledge but serves only to bolster the self-important delusions of the modern age.

The following study deals with “the whig interpretation of history” in what I conceive to be the accepted meaning of the phrase. Apr 17, Rebecca rated it really liked it. She is at the service of good causes and bad.


Reading this book was like watching someone put five coats of high gloss paint on a rotten board. I believe there is a middle way he does not consider here. Randy rated it it was amazing May 14, Skip to main content.

This book reminded me of why I love history so much: This has deeply impacted my trust in historical accounts. I began by thinking I would agree completely with him, in the middle thought I disagreed butterfield, and by the end decided he is right about many things but is sti It is easy to see why this little book is such an influential text for historians.

Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Aug 10, Kristen Cray rated it really liked it. To me, this was a statement in favor of history’s independence from the dominance I’m not an historian so I’m not sure I actually understood everything that the author discusses.

Sep 03, Angela Holt rated it it was ok Butterfifld Back to 4 J. Back to 21 See Kenyon, p. Sep 12, Justin Daniel rated it it was amazing Shelves: And, in his search for It is not as easy to understand the past as many who have written it would have us believe.

Herbert Butterfield

It is outside of the historical realm butterfie,d impose what you believe is right or wrong into history. Views Read Edit View history. Oct 14, Brenton rated it really liked it. The whig interpretation came at exactly the crucial moment and, whatever it may have done to our history, it had a wonderful effect on English politics

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