Namier, Lewis Bernstein

Namier, Lewis Bernstein

 

Born June 27, 1888, in eastern Galicia; died Aug. 19, 1960, in London. British historian.

Educated at Oxford University, Namier worked in the Foreign Ministry from 1915 to 1920 and from 1931 to 1953 was a professor at the University of Manchester. His main interest was in 18th-century British political history. His careful sociopolitical analysis of the composition of the English Parliament of the 1760’s led him to revise traditional conceptions about the formation of the two-party system during that period, on which apologists for the origins of English bourgeois democracy had previously based their work.

Namier’s approach to political history aimed at discovering what real motives and interests underlay the speeches and public statements of political figures. He devoted particular attention to the local, family, and business ties among members of Parliament that determined their position on a given question. This “biographical” method of studying political history, which is often posed against analysis of classes and the class struggle, gave rise to numerous imitations among bourgeois historians of the Namier school

WORKS

The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III, vols. 1–2. London, 1929.
England in the Age of the American Revolution. London, 1930.
1848: The Revolution of the Intellectuals. London, 1971.
Avenues of History. New York, 1952.
Crossroads of Power. London, 1962.

N. A. EROFEEV

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