My name is Marc Mulholland. I am a Fellow (lecturer and tutor) in the History Faculty of Oxford University. My College is St Catherine's. I come from Ireland.

This is a blog relating to my book published in 2012 by Oxford University Press, Bourgeois Liberty and the Politics of Fear: From Absolutism to Neo-Conservativism.
Now on sale here and here. If you want 20 per cent off the price, I can arrange that! Send me a message or leave a comment, and I'll tell you how.

The thesis my book is examining was rather pithily summarised by Leon Trotsky in 1939: "Wherever the proletariat appeared as an independent force, the bourgeoisie shifted to the camp of the counter-revolution. The bolder the struggle of the masses, the quicker the reactionary transformation of liberalism." [Context is here]

However, my book isn't a defence of Trotskyism, or indeed any particular ideology. It's a study of an idea that took shape in Left, Right, and Centre variations.

This blog has tid-bits not included in the book, and other thoughts that occur.

You can see book details at the
OUP website.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Early Modern State and Capitalism

Christopher Hill is pretty much dismissed these days as a fusty old Marxist historian. Still, I wonder whether there'd be many on the liberal Right who'd be inclined to disagree with his view that the Early Modern English state was a block on development precisely because it was posing as “an instrument of economic power, maintaining monopolists and customs farmers, fining enclosures, [and] endangering property by arbitrary taxation”? [Christopher Hill, Puritanism and Revolution: Studies in Interpretation of the English Revolution of the 17th Century (London, 1958), p. 28]

Francis Fukuyama, and Niall Ferguson, of course, are happy to take the bull by the horns (and they do so most impressively), by re-casting the old Marxist (and older Whiggish) narrative in neo-liberal terms. Marx's emancipatory classes are replaced by something a bit closer to Hegel's World Spirit of transcendant reason, animated by contingency and transhistorical rational economic man. Still, there's been something of a reversion to the idea of the 'bourgeois as hero' in recent historical writing, though with the rider that, at the end of history, everyone is bourgeois.

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