Walter Bagehot

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Walter Bagehot
BirthplaceLangport, Somerset, England
Businessman, essayist, journalist

Bagehot, Walter

Bagehot, Walter (băjˈət), 1826–77, English social scientist. After working in his father's banking firm, he edited (1860–77) the Economist (which had been founded by his father-in-law) and helped establish its high reputation as a financial journal; he also cofounded (1861) and edited the National Review. From these activities came his noted study of the English banking system, Lombard Street (1873). Bagehot's classic English Constitution (1864) distinguished between the effective institutions of government and those, like the House of Lords, that had entered decay. His other important books include Literary Studies (1879) and Economic Studies (1880). In Physics and Politics (1875) he made a pioneer analysis of the interrelationship between the natural and the social sciences. He believed that investments expanded or contracted according to the mood of the market. Bagehot was also a noted literary critic of his day.


See his collected works (10 vol., 1915); biographies by W. Irvine (1939, repr. 1970) and J. Grant (2019); studies by A. Buchan (1960) and N. St. John-Stervas (1963).

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References in periodicals archive ?
The threat war poses to the cake of custom is exacerbated by one of its foremost characteristics: its results are unpredictable.
It's because of the "cake of custom," according to historian Lee Harris.
"The cake of custom is what a particular culture believes is the natural thing for humans to do," Harris said in an interview.
How, then, does a culture rid itself of the cake of custom? Often the agent of change, Harris argues, "is migration, forcing men to go some place new.
In this latter type of society, the cake of custom is less of an issue since these societies select for specific abilities, regardless of lineage.
The purpose was to create a caste of sturdy young men that would be loyal only to the sultan and the empire, rather than their clan or tribe from whom they were cut offthereby shattering the cake of custom.
The disruptions resulting from Word War II, postwar prosperity, and the spread of television served to break up the cake of custom and probably played a role in fostering cultural change.
As a student of James, Santayana, and Royce, I was not unprepared for the revolution in psychology which the twentieth century has brought; but The Souls of Black Folk does not adequately allow for unconscious thought and the cake of custom in the growth and influence of race prejudice.
In a ritual that carries its own conservative forces, this kind of anthropology is telling us once again that ritual recruits the passions in order to consolidate the cake of custom, that it internalises divine convention.