In some quarters, Edmund Burke is counted as a supporter of the Americans during the Revolutionary War. He was certainly a friend of America, and he opposed many of the policies of the British government that he felt were driving the colonists to rebellion. But Burke did not necessarily support the colonists’ drive to free themselves from British rule. Precisely because he felt a deep fraternal bond with the Americans, Burke hoped that the colonists would think twice before commencing what would be a bloody and unfortunate war. This post examines some of Burke’s public sentiments on the conflict in an attempt to get a better sense of his attitudes about the conflict between the mother country and her colonies.
Burke was an early critic of the policies that angered the American colonists. In 1769 he published a pamphlet that blames the British government for creating policies that stirred the conflict. He notes that taxes for raising revenue had not been levied under the colonists, and they had grown accustomed to this state of affairs. When the government decided to tax the colonists, this let loose an angry torrent. (more…)