Summaries of Edmund Burke's Speech on Conciliation with the Colonies (Essay Sample)
"In a speech before Parliament just weeks before the beginning of the American Revolution, British statesman and philosopher, Edmund Burke, declared the 'fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English colonies probably than in any other people of the earth.' He went on to list and explain the 'great variety of powerful causes' that produced this unique American personality.
"In a short answer, please summarize [emphasis added] the causes Burke enumerates (I am looking for a list), and then briefly [emphasis added] offer your reaction to his assertions. Is Burke's speech an insightful window into the American mind of the late eighteenth century and beyond? Or does he have us wrong?
Just to be clear on what I am looking for on this assignment, please allow me to try to clarify a few things:
1. The word limit is 300 words. I expect somewhere between 297 and 300 words. When you are presented with a word limit on a college essay, your instructor expects you to write pretty close to the limit. In good writing, the challenge is always to bring your essay under the limit (that is edit out the fluff)--not to write a 121 words and quit--or get to 300 words with inane filler material that adds nothing to your point. Read, think, write, rethink, and rewrite.
2. I am expecting you to "summarize" the causes of the conflict that Burke enumerates. That is, I want you to identify the "powerful causes" leading to this "fierce sense of liberty" (for the record: I count six). And I want you to briefly explain what the causes you re-enumerate mean, so that I can tell that you understand what Burke is talking about. That is, for example, if you tell me that an important cause is "the religion of the northern colonies," this is a fine start but you cannot stop there. I want to know: what is the religion in the northern colonies? why does Burke think this makes a difference? what is his point? And I want that for Burke's entire list. That is, I need to know that you read and understood what Burke was trying to say. I will grade you on how well you convey your mastery of Burke's arguments. An "A" essay will demonstrate a very solid understanding of Burke.
3. In terms of your opinion of Burke, in my mind, that is the least important part of this exercise. I am much less concerned with your opinion than I am with Burke's opinion. When I say "briefly" offer your reaction, I really mean a brief capstone to a meaty discussion of Burke's assertions. Essays that are overloaded with your opinion--and skimpy on Burke--are not going to fare well in terms of grades.
PS: On a lighter note, I stumbled upon this statue of Burke (pictured above) on a fairly quiet street in Washington, D.C. and was captivated by the quote at the base of the statue:
"Magnanimity in Politics is Not Seldom the Truest Virtue."
and also the fact that he was acting out "Sic 'Em Bears!" Sic Em!
Good luck on the essay. Happy reading, thinking, and writing.
Summaries of Edmund Burke's Speech on Conciliation with the Colonies
Summaries of Burke's Speech on Conciliation
Edmund Burke’s Causes
* The freedom of inhabitants living in North America to vote sent knights and burgesses for representation in Parliament’s high court
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