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Michael Oakeshott on European political history

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This article examines Michael Oakeshott's views on European political history, based on the essays, reviews, lectures and unpublished works which he produced throughout his intellectual career. These pieces are less familiar than his writings on political philosophy, but deal with the same themes, notably the relationships between individuals, groups and the state. The conclusion is that Oakeshott was telling a new version of an old tale, the history of the development of a fundamental division in European political thought and practice between two contrasting forms of human association, one communal and consensual, the other individualistic and contractarian.

Keywords: Anthony; Collectivism; Corporations; European Political Thought; Gierke; Groups; Historiography; Individualism; Maitland; Oakeshott; Real Personality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Rm. 112, Bentham Project, 26 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 6BT. Email:uczwldo@ucl.ac.uk

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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