Richard Davenport-Hines

Jan 15, 2023

Conservative Thinkers from All Souls College Oxford

Boydell & Brewer 2022

All Souls College Oxford was one of the meeting points of English public intellectuals in the twentieth century. Its Fellows prided themselves on agreeing in everything except their opinions. They included Cabinet Ministers from all the three major parties, and academics of diverse political allegiances, who met for frank conversations and lively disagreements.

Davenport-Hines investigates historic strands of conservative thought: aversion to rapid and disruptive change, mistrust of majority opinions, prizing of community loyalties and pride over the assertion of aggressive individualism, the recession of the Church of England, and the impact of militarism.

Conservative Thinkers from All Souls College Oxford (Boydell & Brewer, 2022) draws on the ideas of two conservative thinkers, 'Trimmer' Halifax and Michael Oakeshott, to examine the conservative assumptions, ideas, writings and influence of seven Fellows of All Souls from the last century. Their brands of conservatism regarded popular democracy as an unavoidable necessity which must be managed rather than loved. Their scepticism about the rule of the people was rooted in a meritocratic commitment to the government of the wise. They disliked plutocracy, regretted consumerism, and loathed sloppy and self-serving thought. All were more or less dissatisfied with the workings of the Westminster parliamentary model.

Charles Coutinho, PH. D., Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.

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Charles Coutinho

Charles Coutinho, PH. D., Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.

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