The 'politick personality' : Edmund Burke's political ideas and the Lockean inheritance
This thesis seeks to describe aspects of Edmund Burke's political ideas, and to show that these ideas were presented as an alternative to the political ideas of John Locke. The dissertation is composed of two parts: the first outlines the historical context in which Burke's political ideas were set the second studies Burke's own political concepts in opposition to those of Locke. The first part of the dissertation is a detailed review and study of a large number of political writings from Burke's time, particularly (but not solely) from the decade after the outbreak of the revolution in France. This study presents the intellectual context of Burke's ideas, and shows these to have been widely perceived by contemporaries (both those opposing and supporting his views) as set against John Locke's political ideas. The second part of the dissertation looks at Burke's own work. It charts all of Burke's known references to Locke or his works, and shows that all of those which relate to the latter's political ideas, were critical. It demonstrates that on top of various scattered cases, at least twice, in an important draft composed in 1782 and in a weighty memorandum of 1793, Burke decidedly and comprehensively challenged Locke's fundamental political principles, and pronounced them to be deficient and dangerous. It points out that Burke identified the source for the danger posed to political systems by Lockean ideas in their introduction of narrow judicial reasoning into political considerations. It proceeds to present the central themes of Burke's political theory, showing these to contrast (sometimes explicitly so) with Lockean ideas. It concludes with a study of Burke's idea of political sovereignty.