Article ID: CBB987543811

Protestantism and Liberty: Catharine Macaulay’s Politics of Religion as a Response to David Hume (2020)


Catharine Macaulay’s History of England from the Accession of James I (1763–1783) was intended by its author and received by its audience as, in part, a response to David Hume’s History of England. Macaulay’s writing has been read as a Whig counter to Hume’s Tory interpretation of England’s seventeenth-century history; more recent work has explored whether Macaulay or Hume has a better claim to be considered an “enlightenment historian”. This article will suggest that Macaulay’s views on the role of England’s Protestant belief and practice in the development and maintenance of the nation’s liberties contained, in the earlier volumes of her History, some of her substantive and important refutations of Hume’s arguments, and, further, that Macaulay’s well-argued claim that Protestantism was instrumental in the formation of England’s national character and potential enjoyment of political liberties was received by her readers as a particularly valuable part of her historical argument. Her accounts of Roman Catholic violence against Protestant victims at the Siege of La Rochelle and in the Irish Massacre of 1641 became some of the most quoted parts of her historical writing.

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Authors & Contributors
Olson, Richard G.
Baillon, Jean-François
Russell, Paul A.
Susato, Ryu
Bork, K. B.
Fritze, Ronald H.
History of Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie
History of European Ideas
History of Religions
Journal of Early Modern History
Cambridge University Press
Reaktion Books
Baylor University Press
Liveright Publishing Corporation A Division of W.W. Norton and Company
Politics and government
History as a discipline; chronology; study of the past
Science and religion
Hume, David
Hamilton, Alexander
Macaulay, Catherine
Wollstonecraft, Mary
Desaguliers, John Theophilus
Coste, Pierre
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
20th century
17th century
Early modern
United States
Great Britain
Theosophical Society
United States. Department of the Treasury

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