Chapter

America and Bristol, 1774–1776

F.P. Lock

in Edmund Burke, Volume I

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199226634
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191696244 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226634.003.0010
America and Bristol, 1774–1776

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Difficult as these years were for those in opposition, they brought out the best in Burke. In 1774, he was elected member for Bristol, at the time ‘England's second city’ and a large constituency with a genuine electoral contest. His speech at the end of the polls was noted for its defence of the principles of representative democracy against the notion that elected officials should be delegates. Again in each of the following two sessions, he delivered lengthy speeches on American policy, advocating conciliation and concession. Two of them were polished for publication and, in their printed form, achieved unprecedented diffusion. While such oratory is now less highly valued, and statesmanship commonly regarded as a cloak for cynical self-interest, these speeches remain classics of parliamentary eloquence. Burke's connection with Bristol dominated the next six years of his life.

Keywords: Bristol; America; concession; American policy; speeches

Chapter.  26578 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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