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Lord Bolingbroke's theory of party and opposition

Skjonsberg, Max (2016) Lord Bolingbroke's theory of party and opposition. Historical Journal, 59 (4). pp. 947-973. ISSN 0018-246X

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0018246X15000485


Bolingbroke has been overlooked by intellectual historians in the last few decades, at least in comparison with ‘canonical’ thinkers. This article examines one of the most important but disputable aspects of his political thought: his views on political parties and his theory of opposition. It aims to demonstrate that Bolingbroke's views on party have been misunderstood and that it is possible to think of him as an advocate of political parties rather than the ‘anti-party’ writer he is commonly known as. It has been suggested that Bolingbroke prescribed a state without political parties. By contrast, this article seeks to show that Bolingbroke was in fact the promoter of a very specific party, a systematic parliamentary opposition party in resistance to what he perceived as the Court Whig faction in power. It will also be argued that Bolingbroke at no time envisaged a final end to political conflict and that his opposition party should not be interpreted as a party to end all parties.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2016 13:49
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:20

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