Friday, May 28, 2021

British History - Eighteenth Century

I've set a goal to learn more about the eighteenth century -- primarily because I'm confident there's more to the period than revolution in the American colonies and Enlightenment cafes across Europe. To start, I've read a collection of essays edited by Paul Langford. What I appreciated most about them was their tendency to challenge prevailing assumptions about the century: we suppose, for instance, that Enlightenment swept across the British Isles, led by Locke and Newton. But what we forget is that this was the same period that religious movements like Methodism developed: indeed, by 1800, there were as many Methodists in England as there were Catholics, a group with a far longer history on the British Isles. I'm eager to learn more about the eighteenth century: not just about faith and Enlightenment, but also about the accession of the German house of Hanover, about Walpole and parliament, and about the connections between colonialism and capitalism. Up next is a history of the Hanoverian kings, starting with George I. 

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