Henry Thomas Buckle

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Henry Thomas Buckle
BirthplaceLee, Kent, England, UK
Historian, chess player

Buckle, Henry Thomas


Born Nov. 24, 1821, in Lee, Kent; died May 29,1862, in Damascus. English historian and positivist sociologist. Received no systematic education.

Buckle’s main work was the two-volume History of Civilization in England (1857–61; Russian translation in Otechestvennye zapiski, 1861; separate edition, 1863–64). In this work, Buckle concentrated on the study of the natural environment, movement of population, distribution of property, and development of education. He made a direct connection between the development of consciousness and the conditions of the geographical environment. He considered the accumulation of knowledge to be the cause of change in economic and political systems. Admiration’ for English liberalism and the principles of free trade and state nonintervention in economic life are evident in the book. Buckle’s views were imbued with faith in the boundless power of reason and in social progress, hatred for clericalism, and belief in the possibility of using scientific methods (particularly statistics) in obtaining knowledge of the laws of history. These aspects of Buckle’s Weltanschauung ensured his popularity among circles of the progressive intelligentsia in Russia and a number of other countries.


Chernyshevskii. N. G. “Zamechaniianaknigu G. T. Boklia’Istoriia tsivilizatsii ν Anglii.’” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 16. Moscow, 1953.


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When the 19th century English historian Henry Thomas Buckle undertook the writing of the whole history of human civilization, he called it the History of Civilization in England, as though that was the whole of human history.
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