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Barraclough’s Overview

C.B. Macpherson, 19 June 1980

Turning-Points in World History 
by Geoffrey Barraclough.
Thames and Hudson, 96 pp., £4.50, November 1979, 0 500 25067 7
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... Historians are subject to a peculiar occupational hazard. Not only must they, like other scholars and scientists, leave no stone unturned until they have reached a satisfying conclusion to whatever problems they have set themselves: they must also – or so the convention of their craft seems to require – take the reader through most of their sifting of the evidence ...

Why bother about politics?

Jon Elster, 5 February 1981

Political Obligation in its Historical Context 
by John Dunn.
Cambridge, 355 pp., £14.50, October 1980, 0 521 22890 5
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... revolution.) Of the three more theoretical pieces in the book, I found the review essay on C.B. Macpherson distinctly disappointing. It is the kind of condescending overkill which, however justified, reflects badly on its author. The essay on ‘Practising History and Social Science on “Realist” Assumptions’ is ambitious, interesting, but finally too ...

English Individualism Revisited

Alan Ryan, 21 January 1988

The Culture of Capitalism 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Blackwell, 254 pp., £19.50, August 1987, 0 631 13626 6
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... Lawrence Stone, R.H. Tawney, Rodney Hilton, George Homans, Christopher Hill, C.H. Wilson, C.B. Macpherson (and long-dead greats such as Tocqueville, Marx, Weber, Durkheim and Tonnies) is his answer to the question of why fully-fledged industrial capitalism first took off in England. This has usually been thought to be the same question as ‘how did ...
From Idiocy to Mental Deficiency: Historical Perspectives on People with Learning Disabilities 
edited by David Wright and Anne Digby.
Routledge, 238 pp., £45, October 1996, 9780415112154
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... were made. In The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke (1964), C.B. Macpherson argued that Locke in effect pictured the earth as being inherited by the industrious and the rational. Locke judged idiots to lack the mental tackle required to exercise the individual autonomy regarded as the basis of the new Whig political philosophy ...

Burke and History

Owen Dudley Edwards, 22 January 1981

Edmund Burke and the Critique of Political Radicalism 
by Michael Freeman.
Blackwell, 250 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 631 11171 9
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by C.B. Macpherson.
Oxford, 83 pp., £4.50, October 1980, 0 19 287518 3
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... how to play with political ideas and move them around without being hypnotised by them. Professor Macpherson’s book, in Oxford’s new ‘Past Masters’ series, is an elegant and stimulating presentation of Burke’s ideas, printed on revolting paper of the type familiar to users of penny jotters in World War Two. ...

That Disturbing Devil

Ferdinand Mount: Land Ownership, 8 May 2014

Owning the Earth: The Transforming History of Land Ownership 
by Andro Linklater.
Bloomsbury, 482 pp., £20, January 2014, 978 1 4088 1574 8
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... over the new landscape and trying to make sense of this ‘possessive individualism’, as C.B. Macpherson was to dub it three centuries later. In the argument between Macpherson and Milton Friedman, both sides recognised, as Marx had, its explosive power. They differed as to whether its social effects were malign or ...

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