Challenging the culture takes an emotional and psychological toll. One man who was immersed ”“ rather, who immersed himself ”“ in his own cultural cauldron lived in 18th century England. He was Irish by birth, a man of ideas and letters, and a Whig Member of Parliament, also serving briefly in two Whig governments.
Edmund Burke is difficult to categorize using modern nomenclature. Burke advocated “liberal” policies in relation to American rights. He advocated increased freedom for the American colonies, arguing that the economic advantages associated with the colonies remaining within the British Empire outweighed the revenue that could be obtained-at the expense of loyalty-by taxing the colonies. He tried to keep Britain’s American colonies within the Empire, even after hostilities commenced.
Though he was a faithful member of the Church of England, Burke favored the repeal of oppressive Irish Catholic proscriptions, again arguing that the empire was stronger with a loyal Ireland than with the constant threat of insurrection. Burke would have admitted Irish Catholics to a share in the constitution, allowing them to vote on the same terms as those enjoyed by Protestants, and giving them genuine Parliamentary representation.