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Edmund Burke and the Conservative Logic of Empire$
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Daniel I. O`Neill

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520287822

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520287822.001.0001

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Edmund Burke’s Conservative Logic of Empire

(p.1) Introduction
Edmund Burke and the Conservative Logic of Empire

Daniel I. O’Neill

University of California Press

This book argues that Edmund Burke was a consistently conservative political thinker who ardently defended the British Empire in the eighteenth century. It explains how Burke's conservatism laid the theoretical groundwork within which his defense of empire was built. It links the cornerstones of Burke's conservative logic of empire to the two basic theoretical rationales for British imperialism throughout its heyday in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: one that Edward Said has referred to as “Orientalism” and one that David Cannadine has dubbed “Ornamentalism.” More specifically, it examines how Burke articulated both Ornamentalist and Orientalist defenses of empire simultaneously from the standpoint of a conservative worldview that rejected liberalism's core principles. The book also shows that Burke's defense of empire was ideologically consistent with his conservative opposition to the French Revolution.

Keywords:   conservatism, Edmund Burke, British Empire, empire, British imperialism, Edward Said, Orientalism, Ornamentalism, liberalism, French Revolution

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