Whig History

Whig history (or Whig Historiography) is the approach to historiography which presents the past as an inevitable progression towards ever greater liberty and enlightenment, culminating in modern forms of liberal democracy and constitutional monarchy. In general, Whig historians stress the rise of constitutional government, personal freedoms and scientific progress. The term is often applied generally (and pejoratively) to histories that present the past as the inexorable march of progress toward enlightenment. The term is also used extensively in the history of science for historiography that focuses on the successful chain of theories and experiments that lead to present-day science, while ignoring failed theories and dead ends. Whig history has many similarities with the Marxist-Leninist theory of history, which believes that humanity is moving (through historical stages) to the classless, egalitarian society of communism.

Whig history is a form of Liberalism, that puts its faith in the power of human reason to reshape society for the better, regardless of past history and tradition. It demonstrates the inevitable progress of mankind. Its opposite is conservative history or "Toryism." English historian A.J.P. Taylor explains, "Toryism rests on doubt in human nature; it distrusts improvement, clings to traditional institutions, prefers the past to the future. It is a sentiment rather than a principle."

Read more about Whig HistoryTerminology, Butterfield's Intervention, The Whig Historians Within A Tradition

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Whig History - Other Applications of The Term - In Popular Culture
... Aspects of the Whig interpretation are apparent in films, television, political rhetoric, and even history textbooks ... fictionalized adaptations of the Scopes Trial, such as in Inherit the Wind (1955), subscribe to a Whig view of the trial and its aftermath ... for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1998 ...

Famous quotes containing the words history and/or whig:

    What would we not give for some great poem to read now, which would be in harmony with the scenery,—for if men read aright, methinks they would never read anything but poems. No history nor philosophy can supply their place.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    A Whig is properly what is called a Trimmer—that is, a coward to both sides of the question, who dare not be a knave nor an honest man, but is a sort of whiffling, shuffling, cunning, silly, contemptible, unmeaning negation of the two.
    William Hazlitt (1778–1830)