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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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Ornamentalism, Orientalism, and the Legacy of Burke’s Conservative Logic of Empire

(p.168) Conclusion
Edmund Burke and the Conservative Logic of Empire

Daniel I. O’Neill

University of California Press

This book has examined Edmund Burke's conservative understanding of civilization and the civilizing process as the basis for providing specific policy prescriptions for the various sites of the British Empire during the eighteenth century. Drawing on terms associated with the work of both David Cannadine and Edward Said, respectively, the book has shown how Burke alternately defended empire on the basis of Ornamentalism and Orientalism. This conclusion draws out some of the broader implications of the book's findings, first by discussing the theoretical relationship between liberalism and empire and argues that Burke's conservative logic of empire was an illiberal defense of the British imperial project in the New World, India, and Ireland, doing so along lines that were intellectually coherent and deeply consistent with his critique of the French Revolution. It then considers how Burke's arguments relate to the question of the connection between Enlightenment and empire. Finally, it addresses the claim that Burke maintained a commitment to universal justice and liberty based on a belief in scholastic natural law.

Keywords:   Edmund Burke, civilization, British Empire, Ornamentalism, Orientalism, liberalism, French Revolution, Enlightenment, natural law

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