Politics and aphorisms: a contextual study of the politics of George Savile, first Marquis of Halifax through his literary short pieces. (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
This study examines the politics of George Savile, first Marquis of Halifax between the Exclusion Crisis of 1679-1681 and the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689. It examines Halifax’s politics in the context of a set of primary sources that have hitherto not been given enough attention in Halifax studies. This set of sources is his aphorisms. Halifax is well- known as a political writer and an aphorist, but not much focus has been given to his short pieces and their connection to his politics in practice. This study fills the gap by looking at Halifax’s politics in the context of the thoughts and ideas imbedded in his aphorisms. Halifax’s aphorisms reveal a deep acceptance of the imperfections of the human condition. He believed that the human mind was limited in what it can know with certainty; and human nature, rather than reason, dominated the human character. Such imperfections were fully and explicitly accepted by Halifax. It was an integral part of his worldview as revealed by his aphorisms. By reading Halifax’s politics and political career in the context of these aphorisms, a specific interpretation emerges. This interpretation is that the spirit of his politics was very much in tune with his sceptical outlook of the human condition and his acceptance of its inherent imperfections.