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Elie Halévy became famous as a historian of England in the years before World War I, due to his lectures on England at the Ecole libre des sciences politiques, his three-volume analysis of utilitarianism published between 1901 and 1904, a 1906 article on the birth of Methodism, and the 1912 book L’Angleterre en 1815. In these last two works he argued—in what became known as the Halévy thesis—that English Protestantism, and especially the evangelical forms of English Protestantism associated with Methodism, were a key element of Britain's sociopolitical stability. This deep-seated religiosity, he argued, was supportive of British liberalism and British philanthropy; it was responsible for an England that, in his own words, “governs itself, in place of being governed from above.”

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Cheryl Welch , “A New Democracy in America,” French Politics, Culture & Society, 21 (2003), 131–8

K. Steven Vincent , Benjamin Constant and the Birth of French Liberalism (New York, 2011)

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Modern Intellectual History
  • ISSN: 1479-2443
  • EISSN: 1479-2451
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-intellectual-history
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