The structure of politics: Namierite analysis and the history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

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Abstract

This article considers the impact of Lewis Namier's historical ideas on the writing of the history of eighteenth-century Britain. Pointing out that Namier studied law at Lwów University, and studied history privately with, among others, Stanisław Kot, it raises questions about the extent to which his view of British politics was derived from the pessimistic Cracow School of historians, who blamed the szlachta for the demise of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It then compares Namier's structuralist analysis of British politics with studies of the politics of Poland-Lithuania, in particular during the reign of John Casimir, arguing that Polish historians, like Namier, perhaps downplay too much the role of ideas in politics, putting their faith in a Namierite claim that politics was ultimately decided by pure self-interest.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMiscellanea Res Polonorum, Brittanorum ac Judaeorum Illustrantia
EditorsJakub Basista, Adam Kaźmierczyk, Mariusz Markiewicz, Dominika Oliwa
Place of PublicationKraków
PublisherHistoria Jagiellonica
Pages129-144
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)978-83-650-8003-5
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2015

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