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This article recovers the rationale behind the project to found a ‘new’ British history undertaken by J. G. A. Pocock in the early 1970s, and contrasts this with the approach adopted in the subsequent historiography. The article argues that British history as conceived by Pocock was intended to transcend the parochialism of national history whilst also rehabilitating the writing of imperial history without succumbing to the temptations of metropolitan whiggism. Pocock's perspective was constructed against the backdrop of a British withdrawal from empire and led him to a neo-Seeleyan interest in the dynamics of imperial expansion and retrenchment. While this process is best understood through the comparative study of empires, any such undertaking raises complex questions about the ultimate subject of historical inquiry and the nature of historical explanation. In addressing these questions, this article distinguishes the ambition to write the history of a polity from the aim of writing histories of ‘party’ as originally formulated by the historians of the Scottish enlightenment whose work has been among Pocock's abiding subjects of investigation.

Corresponding author
Department of History, Queen Mary, University of London, London E1
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I am grateful to Eugenio Biagini, Colin Kidd, Ian McBride, Timothy McFarland, and Karuna Mantena for discussion of the topics raised in this article. I also clarified my thinking in exchanges with J. G. A. Pocock. I would like to express my thanks to anonymous readers for their criticism, to Clare Jackson for editorial scrutiny, and to Quentin Skinner for advice on publication.

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1 Pocock, J. G. A., ‘British history: a plea for a new subject’, Journal of Modern History, 47, (1975), pp. 601–24, reprinted with minor modifications in J. G. A. Pocock, The discovery of islands: essays in British history (Cambridge, 2005), p. 32. The article originally appeared in the New Zealand Journal of History, 8 (1974), having been presented as a lecture in honour of J. C. Beaglehole at Canterbury, New Zealand in May 1973. Analysis of the relationship between Britain and the empire of settlement has to begin with an account of England's achievement of empire over itself. For an analysis of British history in terms of the complex interrelationship between state and empire, see David Armitage, The ideological origins of the British empire (Cambridge, 2000).

2 The classic exposition in this style is Hugh Kearney, The British isles: a history of four nations (Cambridge, 1989, 2006). Cf. David Eastwood, Laurence Brockliss, and Michael John, ‘Conclusion’ to Laurence Brockliss and David Eastwood, eds., A union of multiple identities: the British isles, c. 1750–1850 (Manchester, 1997). For a more sceptical analysis which ultimately subverts the very notion of ‘identity’, see, however, Colin Kidd, British identities before nationalism: ethnicity and nationhood in the Atlantic world (Cambridge, 1999).

3 The cosmopolitan ideal is articulated in defence of British history by Mark Nicholls, A history of the modern British Isles, 1529–1603 (Oxford, 1999), p. xiv. It is similarly invoked by way of criticizing the enterprise in Nicholas Canny, Making Ireland British, 1580–1650 (Oxford, 2001), p. vii. For the difficulty in deciding between national and cosmopolitan imperatives, see Glenn Burgess, ‘Introduction – the new British history’, in Glenn Burgess, ed., The new British history: founding a modern state, 1603–1715 (London, 1999), p. 8. For British history as national history by other means, see Brendan Bradshaw and Peter Roberts, ‘Introduction’ to Brendan Bradshaw and Peter Roberts, eds., British consciousness and identity: the making of Britain, 1533–1707 (Cambridge, 1998). For a conception of British history as the history of state-formation driven by the imperatives of national consolidation, see John Morrill, ‘The fashioning of Britain’, in Steven G. Ellis and Sarah Barber, eds., Conquest and union: fashioning a British state, 1485–1725 (London, 1995).

4 Of course the terms ‘identity’, ‘plurality’, and ‘diversity’ do pervade Pocock's writing on British history, but their usage is rooted in a civic understanding of political society distinct from the ideals of both liberal ‘inclusion’ and postmodern ‘difference’ to which they are usually assimilated. On this, see J. G. A. Pocock, ‘Conclusion: history, sovereignty, identity’, in Discovery of islands, esp. pp. 303–10.

5 On Seeley as a key precursor for the idea of British history, see Armitage, Ideological origins of the British empire, pp. 16–22.

6 Colin Kidd, Subverting Scotland's past: Scottish whig historians and the creation of an Anglo-British identity, 1689–c. 1830 (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 209–80.

7 Nicholas Phillipson, Hume (London, 1989), p. 140. On Hume as an early exemplar of British history, see John Morrill, ‘The war(s) of the three kingdoms’, in Burgess, ed., New British history, p. 69.

8 I use the word citizenship in the generalized sense of participation in the exercise of sovereignty. On British history as ‘social’ history in the Roman sense of a struggle between allies disputing the terms of their citizenship, see J. G. A. Pocock, ‘The Atlantic archipelago and the war of the three kingdoms’, in Brendan Bradshaw and John Morrill, eds., The British problem, c. 1534–1707: state formation in the Atlantic archipelago (London, 1996), reprinted in Discovery of islands, esp. pp. 89–93. For British history as a shared enterprise in the construction of sovereignty, see Pocock, J. G. A, ‘Gaberlunzie's return’, New Left Review, 2nd ser., 5 (2000), pp. 4152.

9 ‘Colonial’ here refers to the empire of British settlement. On this, see James Belich, Replenishing the earth: the settler revolution and the rise of the angloworld, 1783–1939 (Oxford, 2006).

10 Pocock, ‘British history: a plea’, pp. 29, 41, 42.

11 See J. G. A. Pocock, ‘Preface and acknowledgements’, in Discovery of islands, pp. ix–x; J. G. A. Pocock, ‘The Antipodean perspective’, in ibid., pp. 20–1. For an examination of English and British history by means of a genealogy of sovereignty, and of colonial history in terms of a partnership between ‘layers’ of sovereignty, see J. G. A. Pocock, ‘A discourse of sovereignty: observations on the work in progress’, in Nicholas Phillipson and Quentin Skinner, eds., Political discourse in early modern Britain (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 377–8, 417.

12 Pocock, ‘British history: a plea’, p. 32.

13 J. G. A. Pocock, The Machiavellian moment: Florentine political thought and the Atlantic republican tradition (Princeton, NJ, 1975, 2003), pp. 550, 573.

14 J. G. A. Pocock, ‘1776: the revolution against parliament’, in Virtue, commerce, and history: essays on political thought and history, chiefly in the eighteenth century (Cambridge, 1985), p. 86. For Seeley's remark, see J. R. Seeley, The expansion of England: two courses of lectures (London, 1883), p. 8.

15 On the long-term impact of the secession of the American colonies on British attitudes to imperial consolidation and integrity, see Gould, Eliga H., ‘A virtual nation: Greater Britain and the imperial legacy of the American revolution’, American Historical Review, 104, (1999), pp. 476–89. On this interpretation, the origins of Ulsterization are to be found in the British experience of the American Revolution.

16 Armitage, David, ‘Greater Britain: a useful category of historical analysis?’, The American Historical Review, 104, (1999), pp. 427–45, p. 431; reprinted in David Armitage, Greater Britain, 1516–1776: essays in Atlantic history (Aldershot, 2004); Kidd, Colin, ‘Europe, what Europe?’, London Review of Books (6 Nov. 2008), pp. 1617.

17 Pocock, J. G. A., ‘British history: a plea for a new subject: reply’, Journal of Modern History, 47, (1975), pp. 626–8, at p. 627.

18 On this pattern in British history, see Antoine Mioche, ‘Union and partition: the uses of union in the British empire’, in Isabelle Bour and Antoine Mioche, eds., Bonds of union: practices and representations of political union in the United Kingdom (Tours, 2005), pp. 147–78.

19 Pocock, ‘British history: reply’, p. 627. The phraseology is a deliberate play on kleindeutsch and großdeutsch strategies pursued in Germany in the nineteenth century, as examined in A. J. P. Taylor, The course of German history: a survey of the development of Germany since 1815 (London, 1945).

20 J. G. A. Pocock, ‘Deconstructing Europe’, London Review of Books (19 Dec. 1991), reprinted in Pocock, Discovery of islands, esp. pp. 270, 274.

21 Ibid., pp. 278–82. See also Pocock, J. G. A., ‘History and sovereignty: the historiographical response to Europeanization in two British cultures’, Journal of British Studies, 31, (1992), pp. 358–89. Cf. Pocock, ‘The Antipodean perspective’ (2003), in Pocock, Discovery of islands, esp. pp. 8–9; J. G. A. Pocock, ‘Sovereignty and history in the late twentieth century’ (2003), in ibid., esp. p. 261; J. G. A. Pocock, ‘Conclusion: history, sovereignty, identity’ (2004), in ibid., esp. p. 303; and J. G. A. Pocock, ‘Some Europes and their history’, in Anthony Pagden, ed., The idea of Europe: from antiquity to the European union (Cambridge, 2002), esp. p. 70.

22 For the assumption that an ethos of ‘mutuality’ ought to underpin the writing of British history, see Burgess, ‘Introduction – the new British history’, p. 8. In the absence of agreed criteria by which to limit and define the appropriate objects of historical study, there has arisen a contest between ‘European’ and ‘national’ interpretations of British history. See Jonathan Scott, England's troubles: seventeenth-century English political instability in European context (Cambridge, 2000); Jane Ohlmeyer, Civil war and restoration in the three Stuart kingdoms: the career of Randal MacDonnell, Marquis of Antrim, 1609–1683 (Cambridge, 1993), ch. 7. Cf. the idea of relevant historical ‘connections’, in Jim Smyth, The making of the United Kingdom, 1660–1800 (Harlow, 2001), pp. xii, 233; John Morrill, ‘The British problem, c. 1534–1707’, in Bradshaw and Morrill, eds., The British problem, p. 2.

23 See J. G. A. Pocock, ‘England’, in Orest Ranum, ed., National consciousness, history, and political culture in early-modern Europe (Baltimore, MD, and London, 1975).

24 Pocock's response to ‘whig’ historiography has been complex and protracted. See, in particular, J. G. A. Pocock, The ancient constitution and the feudal law: a study of English historical thought in the seventeenth century (Cambridge, 1957, 1987); J. G. A. Pocock, ‘Burke and the ancient constitution: a problem in the history of ideas’, in J. G. A. Pocock, Politics, language, and time: essays on political thought and history (Chicago, IL, and London, 1960, 1989); J. G. A. Pocock, ‘The varieties of whiggism: a history of ideology and discourse’, in Pocock, Virtue, commerce, and history. For Pocock's early work as in part an attempt to make sense of the anti-whiggish whiggism of Herbert Butterfield – specifically, the relationship between the latter's The whig interpretation of history (1931) and his The Englishman and his history (1944) – see Pocock, ‘Preface’ to the 1987 edition of the Ancient constitution, pp. viii–ix. For his opposition to ‘vulgar whiggism’, in particular, see ‘The ancient constitution revisited: a retrospect from 1986’, in ibid., esp. p. 257. For comparative remarks on the difference between Burke's reaffirmation of ‘English traditionalism’, in the 1790s and German historicism, see Pocock, J. G. A., ‘The origins of the study of the past: a comparative approach’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 4, (1962), pp. 209–46, re-printed in J. G. A. Pocock, Political thought and history: essays on theory and method (Cambridge, 2009), p. 175.

25 J. G. A. Pocock, ‘Law, sovereignty and history in a divided culture: the case of New Zealand and the treaty of Waitangi’ (1992), in Discovery of islands, p. 254. Pocock does not specify any of the protagonists of this assumption, but Treitschke is one obvious possible candidate. See Heinrich von Treitschke, Politik: Vorlesungen gehalten an der Universität zu Berlin, ed. Max Cornicelius (Leipzig, 1897).

26 Pocock, ‘The Antipodean perspective’, Discovery of islands, p. 20. Cf. Pocock, J. G. A., ‘Removal from the wings’, London Review of Books (20 Mar. 1997), p. 12.

27 For the recurrent motifs that have attended the besieged allegiance of Irish loyalism, see Ian McBride, The siege of Derry in Ulster Protestant mythology (Dublin, 1997). For British loyalism in America after 1776, see Jasanoff, Maya, ‘The other side of revolution: loyalists in the British empire’, William and Mary Quarterly, 65, (2008), pp. 205–32. For an account of the New Zealand experience, see J. G. A. Pocock, ‘The treaty between histories’, in Andrew Sharp and Paul McHugh, eds., Histories, power and loss: uses of the past – a New Zealand commentary (Wellington, 2001), p. 82. Cf. J. G. A. Pocock, ‘The four seas and the four oceans’, in Gordon Lucy and Elaine McClure, eds., Cool Britannia: what Britishness means to me (Lurgan, Co. Armagh, 1999).

28 My argument here departs from the premises contained in the classic study by David W. Miller, Queen's rebels: Ulster loyalism in historical perspective (Dublin, 1978). For a response to the asymmetrical relationship that underpins Ulsterization, see Ian McBride, ‘Ulster and the British problem’, in Richard English and Graham Walker, eds., Unionism in modern Ireland: new perspectives in politics and culture (Basingstoke, 1996), p. 14. For British unionism before the onset of crisis, see John Bew, The glory of being Britons: civic unionism in nineteenth-century Belfast (Dublin, 2009).

29 Herbert Butterfield, The whig interpretation of history (1931) (London, 1973). The final chapter of the work, ‘Moral judgements in history’, focuses on the moralism of Acton. On the patriotism underlying historiographical whiggism, see John Burrow, A history of histories: epics, chronicles, romances and inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the twentieth century (London, 2007), pp. 473–4.

30 The contemporary target (secular liberalism) is brought out in Michael Bentley, Modernizing England's past: English historiography in the age of modernism, 1870–1970 (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 188–9. ‘Paganisation’ had contributed to the deification of the modern state, in Butterfield's view, and so inadvertently to totalitarianism.

31 H. A. L. Fisher, The whig historians (London, 1928), p. 21.

32 The point is applicable to F. S. Oliver's The endless adventure: personalities and practical politics in eighteenth-century England (Boston, MA, and New York, NY, 1931), which offers a celebration of whig politics in the form of unapologetically whiggish history.

33 Fisher, Whig historians, pp. 21, 30.

34 Ibid., pp. 29, 31.

35 H. Butterfield, The Englishman and his history (Cambridge, 1944), pp. vii, 84, 85, 101.

36 Ibid., pp. 104–6.

37 Ibid., pp. 82.

38 L. S. Amery, My political life: England before the storm, 1896–1914 (London, 1953), p. 466; F. S. Oliver, Alexander Hamilton: an essay on the American union (London, 1907), p. 457; for Milner's inspiration, see L. S. Amery, Thoughts on the constitution (New York, NY, 1947), p. 111.

39 On the use of ‘unhistorical’ or ‘non-historic’ peoples as a political and polemical weapon, see Pocock, Discovery of islands, pp. 41, 278. On dialectical process in British history, see Pocock, ‘British history: reply’, p. 627.

40 Pocock has traced this pattern back to 1783. See Pocock, J. G. A., ‘The new British history in Atlantic perspective: an Antipodean commentary’, American Historical Review, 102, (1999), pp. 490500, at p. 491: ‘Parliament was unwilling as ever to compromise its sovereignty in the archipelago by remodelling it around the government of an empire.’

41 Pocock, Discovery of islands, p. 26.

42 The National Archives (UK), CAB, 128/46, Conclusions, 4 Sept. 1969, Confidential Annex.

43 On some of the practical details, see Michael Cunningham, British government policy in Northern Ireland, 1969–2000 (Manchester, 2001), pp. 20–30; on the origins of the policy in December 1974, see Richard Bourke, ‘Wilson clearly wanted to disengage from the North’, Report on UK State Papers for 1974, Irish Times, 1 Jan. 2005; idem, ‘Digging in for long haul of direct rule: London overview 1974’, Report on UK State Papers for 1974, Irish Times, 4 Jan. 2005.

44 Pocock, ‘British history: reply’, p. 627.

45 Seeley, Expansion of England, pp. 158–9.

46 Ibid., p. 154. On the broad church origins of Seeley's religious thought, see Richard Shannon, ‘John Robert Seeley and the idea of a national church’, in Robert Robson, ed., Ideas and institutions of Victorian Britain (London, 1967).

47 Seeley, Expansion of England, pp. 15–16.

48 Ibid., p. 155.

49 Ibid., p. 185. For the wider post-1857 context for British responses to India, see Karuna Mantena, Alibis of empire: Henry Maine and the ends of liberal imperialism (Princeton, NJ, 2010). For discussion of the relationship between principles of association and ‘civic’ attachment in Seeley's thought, see Duncan Bell, The idea of greater Britain: empire and the future of world order, 1860–1900 (Princeton, NJ, 2007), chs. 3–6.

50 J. R. Seeley, Life and times of Stein, or Germany and Prussia in the Napoleonic age (3 vols., Cambridge, 1878), i, p. 5.

51 Ibid., i, p. 6.

52 Seeley, Life and times of Stein, i, pp. 19, 24.

53 Ibid., i, p. 19.

54 Ibid., i, p. 34.

55 The switch from ‘large clan’ to ‘analogous to the clan’ appears in ibid., i, p. 34.

56 Reference to ‘the civic tie’ can be found in ibid., i, 32. For Pocock's understanding of ‘civic virtue’ originating in the ‘Aristotelian analysis’ of citizenship, see Pocock, Machiavellian moment, p. 76.

57 Seeley, Expansion of England, p. 8.

58 Pocock, ‘British history: reply’, pp. 626–7. Cf. Pocock, J. G. A., ‘The limits and divisions of British history: in search of the unknown subject’, American Historical Review, 87, (1982), pp. 311–36, at p. 317.

59 John Davies, A discoverie of the true causes why Ireland was never entirely subdued, nor brought under obedience of the crowne of England, untill the beginning of his majesties happie raigne (London, 1612). For the centrality of this text to the theorization of British history, see Pocock, ‘British history: a plea’, pp. 27–8. For discussion of Davies's argument more generally, see Pocock, Ancient constitution, pp. 59–63, 263; Hans S. Pawlisch, Sir John Davies and the conquest of Ireland: a study in legal imperialism (Cambridge, 1985); Bourke, Richard, ‘Edmund Burke and the politics of conquest’, Modern Intellectual History, 4, (2007), pp. 403–32, at pp. 415–20.

60 A. V. Dicey, England's case against home rule (London, 1886), p. 197; A. V. Dicey, A leap in the dark: a criticism of the principles of home rule as illustrated by the bill of 1893 (2nd edn, London, 1911), p. 118; A. V. Dicey, A fool's paradise, being a constitutionalist's criticism on the home rule bill of 1912 (London, 1913), p. viii. For discussion, see Richard Bourke, Peace in Ireland: the war of ideas (London, 2003), pp. 252–72.

61 Pocock, ‘Afterword’ (2003), in Machiavellian moment, p. 554.

62 J. G. A. Pocock, Barbarism and religion, iii:the first decline and fall (Cambridge, 2003), pp. 7–60, 419–47.

63 For Smith's comments on the imaginary ‘project’ of empire, see Adam Smith, An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations (1776) (2 vols., Indianapolis, 1981), ii, pp. 946–7. For Hume's nonchalant response to the American crisis, see his letter to Adam Smith, 8 Feb. 1776, in Correspondence of Adam Smith, ed. Ernest Campbell Mossner and Ian Simpson Ross (Indianapolis, IN, 1987), p. 186. For the relationship between Scottish enlightenment criticism of British patriotic politics and political scepticism more generally, see Kidd, Subverting Scotland's past, p. 211.

64 This vision is exemplified in David Hume, History of England (1754–62) (6 vols., Indianapolis, 1983), v, p. 96. See J. G. A. Pocock, Barbarism and religion, ii:Narratives of civil government (Cambridge, 1999), pp. 199–221. For an analysis of ‘party spirit’ on an imperial scale, see Smith, Wealth of nations, ii, p. 945.

65 Michael Oakeshott, ‘Three essays on history’, in On history and other essays (Oxford, 1983, 1985), p. 35. For discussion of the role of historical inquiry in Oakeshott's thinking more generally, see Luke O'Sullivan, Oakeshott on history (Charlottesville, VA, 2003).

66 Oakeshott, On history, p. 41. Cf. Michael Oakeshott, Experience and its modes (Cambridge, 1933, 1978), pp. 157–8, for comments on Burke, Droysen, and Troeltsch as exemplifying the ‘practical’ standpoint.

67 Oakeshott, On history, p. 39. For an earlier assertion of the same priorities, see Michael Oakeshott, ‘The whig interpretation of history’ (1951), in Luke O'Sullivan, ed., What is history? and other essays (Charlottesville, VA, 2004).

68 Oakeshott, On history, p. 66n. Oakeshott misquotes Ranke's famous formulation – zeigen, wie es eigentlich gewesen (to show how it really came to pass) – by substituting the phrase ‘wie es eigentlich gewesen ist’. But he correctly interprets his misquotation by rendering it in turn as: ‘Zeigen wie es eigentlich zustande gekommen ist’ (to show how it really came to occur).

69 Ibid., pp. 42–3. Cf. Michael Oakeshott, ‘The activity of being an historian’, in Michael Oakeshott, Rationalism in politics and other essays (1962) (Indianapolis, 1991), p. 162.

70 Leopold von Ranke, Geschichte der romanischen und germanischen Völker von 1494 bis 1535 (1824), in Sämtliche Werke (54 vols., Leipzig, 1867–1890), xxiii/xxiv, p. vii.

71 Leopold von Ranke, Zur Kritik neuerer Geschichtsschreiber: eine Beylage zu desselben romanischen und germanischen Geschichten (3rd edn, 1824, 1885), in Sämtliche Werke, xxiii/xxiv, Appendix. On the religious context of Ranke's historiographical project, see Braw, J. D., ‘Vision as revision: Ranke and the beginning of modern history’, History and Theory, 46, (2007), pp. 4560.

72 J. G. A. Pocock, ‘Time, institutions and action: an essay on traditions and their understanding’, in Preston King and B. C. Parekh, eds. Politics and experience: essays presented to Michael Oakeshott (Cambridge, 1968), reprinted in J. G. A. Pocock, Politics, language and time, pp. 271–2. For a subsequent re-statement of the position, see Pocock, J. G. A., ‘Review of On history’, Times Literary Supplement (21 Oct. 1983), p. 1155.

73 Adam Smith, Lectures on rhetoric and belles lettres, ed. J. C. Bryce (Indianapolis, IN, 1983), pp. 62–4, 85.

74 Ibid., p. 104.

75 Ibid., p. 111.

76 The tradition holding that Herodotus performed recitals at an assortment of Greek festivals and Games is indebted to Plutarch, Dio Chrysostom, and Lucian, but is also implicit in Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian war, book i, chs. 21–2, pp. 221–22.

77 Smith, Lectures on rhetoric, pp. 138–9, 105–6.

78 Ibid., pp. 111–12.

79 See ibid., p. 93, on Sallust's avoidance of infinite regress in historical explanation by uncovering causes sufficient to human interest; see ibid., pp. 1011–12, for discussion of Tacitus's discovery of a new field of interest, namely ‘the effects the events related produced on the minds of the actors or spectators’. On scientific advance as sparked by stimulating interest in newly important but less impressive causes, see Adam Smith, ‘The history of astronomy’, in Essays on philosophical subjects, ed. W. D. Wightman and J. C. Bryce (Indianapolis, IN, 1980), p. 93: new hypotheses provoke curiosity under conditions of civilization just as marvellous phenomena did under more primitive circumstances, as illustrated by the emergence of psychological explanation: ‘we have naturally a greater curiosity to examine the Causes and Relations of those things which pass without us than of those which pass within us, the latter naturally making very little impression. The associations of our Ideas, the progress and origin of our Passions, are what very few think of enquiring into. But when one has turned his thoughts that way and made some enquiries he begins to think these matters to be of importance and is therefore interested in them’.

80 Smith, Lectures on rhetoric, p. 95. The reference is to Traiano Boccalini, Commentarrii sopra Cornelio Tacito (Amsterdam, 1677).

81 Smith, Lectures on rhetoric, pp. 114–15.

82 Ibid., p. 102: ‘Historical truths are now in much greater request than they ever were in the ancient times. One thing that has contributed to this curiosity is that there are now severall sects in Religion and political disputes which are greatly dependent on the truth of certain facts.’

83 Butterfield, The Englishman and his history, pp. v–vi, 1–2.

84 Pocock, ‘British History: a plea’, pp. 26, 24.

85 Ibid., pp. 38–9.

86 Ibid., pp. 40–1. For an alternative treatment of Griffith, see Bourke, Peace in Ireland, pp. 118–46.

87 On these historical categories as enabling an approach to the study of the past that transcends merely événementiel political narrative, see Fernand Braudel, ‘The history of civilizations: the past explains the present’, in On history (Chicago, 1980). For Pocock's response to Braudel, see Pocock, ‘Limits and divisions of British history’, pp. 316–17.

88 Ibid., pp. 317, 334.

89 Pocock, Barbarism and religion, iii, p. 20.

90 Pocock, Machiavellian moment, pp. 66–74, 557, 561–2.

91 Aristotle, Politics, 1253a5–1253b1. Cf. Aristotle, Ars rhetorica, 1382b5–10.

92 Aristotle, Politics, 1301a25–1301a40.

93 The locus classicus of eighteenth-century analysis appears in David Hume, ‘Of parties in general’ (1741), in Essays moral, political and literary, ed. Eugene F. Miller (Indianapolis, IN, 1987).

* I am grateful to Eugenio Biagini, Colin Kidd, Ian McBride, Timothy McFarland, and Karuna Mantena for discussion of the topics raised in this article. I also clarified my thinking in exchanges with J. G. A. Pocock. I would like to express my thanks to anonymous readers for their criticism, to Clare Jackson for editorial scrutiny, and to Quentin Skinner for advice on publication.

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