Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:September 2011
Original Publication Year:1792
Subjects: European history after 1450 , British history after 1450
James Mackintosh (1765–1832) was a Scottish lawyer, liberal philosopher, politician, journalist and historian. His most famous work, Vindiciae Gallicae (1791), was a reply to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution. Burke considered it the best answer to his essay, and, together with Thomas Paine's Rights of Man, the most significant. However, subsequent events in France caused Mackintosh to reconsider his views on the French Revolution, and he later became an admirer of Burke. He argued for gradual democratic reform in England to prevent radical upheaval. The Historical Sketch, based mainly on French sources, was published in 1792, and outlines the origins of the French Revolution and its course until the start of that year. Mackintosh argues that differences in the French and British constitutions could explain why violent revolution had broken out in France but not in Britain.