A thorough understanding of Conservatism's lineage, principles, and impact on history is essential to making sense of the 21st-century political dialogue-a dialogue that consumes the television you watch, the newspapers you read, and the radio you listen to.
No matter where you place yourself on the ideological spectrum, these 36 lectures will intrigue you, engage you, and maybe even provoke you to think about this political philosophy in an entirely new way.
In crafting his exploration of just why this has happened, Professor Allitt has specifically designed his lectures to be objective, neutral, and intellectually satisfying for every viewer and listener - whatever their ideological outlook. Using an easygoing and engaging style, these lectures show you how Anglo-American Conservatism developed and evolved in both Great Britain and the United States; how traditional Conservatism produced evolutionary variants like Neoconservatism and Libertarianism; and the provocative ways in which Conservatism has interacted with differing political philosophies. Following the fascinating history of Conservatism, you'll also meet the widest possible range of thinkers and practitioners behind the Conservative tradition, including John Stuart Mill, Ayn Rand, Francis Schaeffer, Adam Smith, Henry Adams, Alexander Hamilton, William Pitt the Younger, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, H.L. Mencken, William F. Buckley Jr., Ludwig von Mises, and Friedrich von Hayek.Whether you consider yourself a Liberal or a Conservative-or something in between-these lectures can make you a more effective and informed citizen, armed with a sharpened understanding of the ways in which this philosophy has influenced events around the world.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses
The course attempts to define conservatism and then track its evolution through the ages in both the U.K. and the U.S.. One learns how the philosophies have evolved and in some cases taken divergent paths based on the impact of the U.S. civil war, the world wars, industrialization, the rise and fall of communism, etc. It's a fascinating journey that attempts to explain why, for example, "conservatives" in the U.S. would be anti-gun control and anti-socialized medicine, while "conservatives" in the U.K. would be supportive of such measures.
Many lessons stick with me, but I was particularly struck by the discussions of U.S. revolutionary era and civil war-era politics, where in each case, we had two sides that each considered themselves perservers of conservative tradition. In the case of the U.S. revolution, the Tories wanted to remain loyal to the King, yet the separatists felt they were fighting to preserve English republican traditions that the King had abandoned. In the civil war, both the North and the South were fighting to preserve their own definitions of a traditional way of life and governance. If you are somebody who puzzles over whether the founders of our country would consider themselves conservative today, you'll love this course, and perhaps be frustrated by the ambiguities!
This was my 3rd course from Professor Allitt, so obviously I'm a fan. It's a given that the topic is, shall we say, politically loaded, but I trusted that Professor Allitt would do his best to approach the topic as a historian, and not with any idiological point of view. I dare say after listening to it that the course is likely to frustrate anybody with a strong-leaning political agenda (in either direction), which is to say that Professor Allitt succeeds!
I may be just biased myself, but as the course approached the modern era, it appeared to me that Professor Allitt couldn't help but reveal his biases, as his descriptions of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the "Reagan Revolution," Margaret Thatcher, and particularly the abortion issue felt somewhat one-sided and yes, conservative. It follows that anybody who would teach a course called "Conservative Tradition" is likely to be an admirer of the that tradition, so consider yourself warned as the final lectures approach, but don't shy away because of it. The course succeeds as both an entertaining listen and a historical study filled with examples of the conflicts, struggles, complexities, and changing definitions of conservatism.
Yes. I have already listed to it twice and will again. I do listen at 1.5x speed since most lectures are somewhat slow of speech. My comprehension went way up when I did not have to wait as long for completion of an idea. I actually listened to a major part at 2x but I may be A.D.D.
Coming from a center-left general outlook I wanted to understand many of the contradictions (hypocrisy?) of conservative thought. Professor Allitt expanded the various threads in conservative thought and helped me see how many of these branches are diametrically opposed to each other. I was not being fair by forcing all these individual threads into a single bucket. It was not hypocrisy I was seeing but it was my own prejudice. Now when I listen to conservatives I try to understand what branch this person represents and I often find some common ground. Excellent work Dr. Allitt!
Not applicable. Non-fiction.
Would be a documentary not a film.
I have done a lot of teaching company lecture series, this is one of the best!
I found this very interesting, going in I knew very little about conservatism or it's founding ideas as a political philosophy. The course goes into detail from it's history in the UK to the States and around the world. very comprehensive.
the amount of information covered is very impressive.
Very entertaining Professor.
the links between the US and UK
if you are interested in politics, even if your viewpoint is not necessarily conservative - check it out.
Avid reader until vision impairment set in. Now an avid listener!
Prof. Allitt's rare talents as scholar and teacher are in full display. He is a charming lecturer, full of passion for his subject and flashes of humor. His erudition is no less obvious than his ability to discuss the subject matter in a way that will be comprehensible to everyone. I love his practice (throughout all his series) of illustrating major points with quotations from primary sources. He previews each lecture in a few sentences before he starts, which gives the listener a mental outline to follow. He is organized and as thorough as one could be in a survey course.
As an "old school" libertarian myself, I appreciated Prof. Allitt's even handed treatment of the varieties of American conservatism, from the excesses of Ayn Rand and the Moral Majority to the more tempered neo-conservatism of Buckley and Podhoretz. He is never condescending to his subjects, which must have been a temptation at times. His review of Thatcher's administration was eye opening; my prior knowledge of most of the history really benefited from the nuance Prof. Allitt contributed.
I loved the lectures about Thatcher. She saved the British economy with a few steely common sense laissez faire moves, which were despised in the short term but which were beneficial in the long term.
The Anglo-American drive to let common sense prevail. LOL!
Reviewer from Utah
Top ten percent
Professor Allitt knows his subject, which is highly compelling. Conservatism has a strong philosophical core, which is well-presented here.
Beautiful English accent combined with deep understanding of America.
I would listen to this audio book again, but I would skip through certain chapters. Professor Allitt gives a very in depth history of the political tradition. He covers a great deal of British conservatism, which I didn't find as relevant or interesting if you have no connection to the UK. It was still a great lesson.
"A History of Conservatism"
I bought this title hoping to understand the political philosophy of conservatives in the UK, and although the history of conservatism in the UK and the US is examined in detail in this course, I found the philosophical discussions of ideas and concepts to be lacking. Although the Prof. does take some lectures to entirely devote some time to discussion of specific debates and books written, it does get rather lost amidst a sea of 'he said, she said' discussions of who was on who's team at what point.
If you want to know who were the main proponents of a kind of conservatism, and what specific conservative leaders believed then this is a good listen. If you want to understand the philosophical underpinnings of any kind of conservatism, I would go elsewhere.
"The history of British and American conservatism"
An interesting and detailed account of British and American Conservatism - narrated from a (moderate) Conservative point of view.
As a non-Conservative I profoundly disagreed with a lot of the conservative arguments and points of view that were discussed - but the professor's likable manner and great story telling skills helped me get through all the lectures.
The lectures only cover the history of conservatism in Britain and the USA.
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