This is a new edition of Edmund Burke's first work, originally issued anonymously in 1756 as a letter attributed to "a late noble writer." In 1757 Burke produced a revised version with a new preface but still did not attach his name to the work.
This Liberty Fund edition is based on the 1757 revision. The Vindication is a political and social satire ridiculing the popular enlightenment notion of a pre-civil "natural society."
On considering political Societies, their Origin, their Constitution, and their Effects, I have sometimes been in a good deal more than Doubt, whether the Creator did ever really intend Man for a State of Happiness. He has mixed in his Cup a Number of natural Evils, (in spite of the Boasts of Stoicism they are Evils) and every Endeavor which the Art and Policy of Mankind has used from the Beginning of the World to this Day, in order to alleviate, or cure them, has only served to introduce new Mischiefs, or to aggravate and inflame the old. Besides this, the Mind of Man itself is too active and restless a Principle ever to settle on the true Point of Quiet.
Edmund Burke (1729-1797) - British parliamentarian, orator, and political philosopher. The son of a lawyer, he began legal studies but lost interest, became estranged from his father, and spent some time wandering about England and France. Essays he published in 1757-58 gained the attention of Denis Diderot, Immanuel Kant, and Gotthold Lessing, and he was hired to edit a yearly survey of world affairs (1758- 88). He entered politics (1765) as secretary to a Whig leader and soon became involved in the controversy over whether Parliament or the monarch controlled the executive. He argued (1770) that George III's efforts to reassert a more active role for the crown violated the constitution's spirit. Elected to Parliament (1774-80), he contended that its members should exercise judgment rather than merely follow their constituents' desires. Although a strong constitutionalist, he was not a supporter of pure democracy; although a conservative, he eloquently championed the cause of the American colonists, whom he regarded as badly governed, and he supported the abolition of the international slave trade. He tried unsuccessfully to legislate relief for Ireland and to reform the governance of India. He disapproved of the French Revolution for its leaders' precipitous actions and its antiaristocratic bloodshed. He is often regarded as the founder of modern conservatism.