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Edmund Burke: His Influence On The Enlightenment

1278 words - 5 pages

Freedom of speech was not as significant in the 18th century as it is today. The British government had an overlying power of the way things were run and ruled. King George III was widely followed, but was greedy for more power and less justice for the people. Edmund Burke found himself desiring to represent society and set up a separation from the king and parliament. Burke set out to change the government through his writings and speeches. He wanted the struggling American Colonies to be set free from their inconsistent ruling from a sea away. Burke sought after the relieving of Irish Catholics, in a way that separated the church from the Monarchy of George III. He was instrumental in swaying official's opinions and views in very controversial issues, and was able to transform government power as we know it today. The philosophy of separation of government has made an important change and can be credited to the relentless and unforgiving standpoints of Edmund Burke.Edmund Burke did not grow up pursuing a life of politics, but he sought after a career in legal studies. He grew up in an Anglican household but was swayed also by his mother's strong Catholic ties. In his early education he attended a Quaker school in Ballitore, and then proceeded to Trinity College in Dublin (Somerset). Burke trained in his literature skills as well as his oral debating skills. He formed a debating club which later molded into the Historical Club and merged into the College Historical Society (Burke). Persuaded by his parents Burke began to study the law, but was soon loosed of his education to travel Europe. Traveling the continent he became very familiar with the complaints of Europeans with their rebellion towards King George III. Burke found himself becoming very interested in politics and felt the need to invest his time and writing skills in this area (Somerset). Six years after leaving to travel Europe Burke published his first work, A Vindication of Natural Society: A View of the Miseries and Evils Arising to Mankind. Many Historians think this work is a satire of views, and also a shot towards many philosophical views (Kirk).In the year 1757, Burke became a politician and began to consistently publish more works. One of the main works he published in this year was A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (Kramnick). This influential essay on aesthetics gained the interest of prominent thinkers. A year later, Burke collaborated with Robert Dodsley to produce the Annual Register, a periodical that analyzed Political events that occurred of the previous year (Kirk). William Gerard Hamilton was appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, and asked Burke to become his personal secretary. He then switched positions to become personal secretary to Charles Watson-Wentworth, who was known as a liberal Whig and also the Marquess of Rockingham. In his position under Watson-Wentworth, Burke became very monumental in the...

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