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Additional info for Edmund Burke and International Relations: The Commonwealth of Europe and the Crusade against the French Revolution

Sample text

89 Burke's writings and speeches take us to the very heart of these recurring questions. While his answers undoubtedly reflect the specific social, political and linguistic context of the eighteenth century, they are grounded in principle rather than pragmatism or opportunism. Hence, they can rise above such historieal horizons to inspire modem debate. Burke's acknowledged stature as a powerful thinker and a persuasive orator make hirn an indispensable resource for those concerned with the partieular challenge of modem social revolution, and the more general question of the nature of international order.

L44 In fact, as Cbapter 3 will make dear, it is tbe broader Roman-Christian-Germanic civilisation of Europe, wbose eommon inberitance transcends tbe claims of any of its national or religious parts, tbat is Burke's greatest foeus of attention. By incorporating elements of botb Positivism and Naturalism into bis Law of Nations, Burke straddles tbe same line as bis eigbteentb century contemporaries, Cbristian Wolff and Emer de Vattel. Wolff establisbes a volitional Law of Nations as a link between Natural and Positive Law, and locates its content in tbe body of rules be saw working among states in tbeir international affairs.

SOURCES The methodological challenges discussed above have direct implications for my selection of sourees. Given Burke's hesitations about theory, and his active participation in political affairs, any attempt to present his international theory must draw upon his reactions to the issues and crises of his time. As Cobban has noted, many interpreters of Burke have erroneously attempted to split his thought into "watertight compartments,,90 by considering these events in isolation. As a result, I have found it necessary to consult all the mediums of Burke's thought - personal correspondence, parliamentary speeches, official pamphlets, and theoretical essays - rather than any one philosophical work.

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