Henry Hallam revisited

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Abstract

Although Henry Hallam (1777–1859) is best known for his Constitutional History of England (1827) and as a founder of ‘whig’ history, to situate him primarily as a mere critic of David Hume or as an apprentice to Thomas Babington Macaulay does him a disservice. He wrote four substantial books of which the first, his View of the state of Europe during the middle ages (1818), deserves to be seen as the most important; and his correspondence shows him to have been integrated into the contemporary intelligentsia in ways that imply more than the Whig acolyte customarily portrayed by commentators. This article re-situates Hallam by thinking across both time and space and depicts a significant historian whose filiations reached to Europe and North America. It proposes that Hallam did not originate the whig interpretation of history but rather that he created a sense of the past resting on law and science which would be reasserted in the age of Darwin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-473
Number of pages20
JournalThe Historical Journal
Volume55
Issue number2
Early online date10 May 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

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