This chapter examines Burke's historical writings for what they tell us about his understanding of the role of history as a vehicle of public criticism and moral and civic education. In so doing, it focuses particularly on the “Abridgment,” since that is the most substantial of the historical texts attributable entirely to Edmund Burke, but the analysis will be supported at various points with references to the other materials. The features of the “Abridgment” that emerge most strongly from this alternative methodology are first, the incorporation of providence within the narrative; second, the rehabilitation of religious institutions in the growth of civilized societies; and third, the fracturing of any organic or systematic pattern of social and political development.
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