Jonathan Healey and the Blazing World


17th Century was a century of change and revolution, a world beautifully described in the a rich and varied book, The Blazing World. Historian Jonathan Healey comes along to talk through some of the themes and events that make the century such a fascinating time.

Download Podcast - Jonathan Healey and the Blazing World (Right Click and select Save Link As)



3 thoughts on “Jonathan Healey and the Blazing World

  1. Thanks for another fascinating podcast! I hope you and Dr. Healey will do this again, perhaps after Derby is promoted.

    As an American, I wanted to comment on why this period is so fascinating. In the American mythology lessons, which we refer to as high school history, the founders returned from the mount with a Constitution carved on stone tablets created from thin air by the founders or possibly the divinity. To the degree its principles are based on earlier work, we attribute that to the philosophical musings of another pure thinker, John Locke. There is no acknowledgment that clauses were written in response to specific historical events leading to specific conflicts.

    The English civil war vividly illustrates how our constitution is a direct response to actual events. Our constitution make much more sense after exposure to a society where separate branches of government and separation of church and state did not exist.

    1. Yes I can see that. Though don’t you also reference the works of Montesqieu in particular? Isn’t the Spirit of the Laws where the theory (which we never adopt here, going for a ‘balance’ rather than separation) really gets prominence or am I wrong? One of the things that has struck me is that one fundamental difference between the English Revolution and all that follow, is that it happened before the enlightenment. I did go on a course about the English constitution; there was an american prof there, who also became convinced that the US constitution owed plenty to the British…but I can remember in what ways, so that’s no use to anyone!

  2. You two get into differences and similarities of constitutional issues with America, but you don’t know the half of it. In the same way that the modern mind can’t grasp how important little (to us) constitutional questions were back then in England, we have had the same thing in the US for a while.
    One of the principal academics of the progressive era 100 years ago was Charles Beard who wrote An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution, which argued that the U.S. Constitution was the product of the founders’ economic commitments and conflicts. Today this goes to the extreme of some people effectively arguing that all legal process arguments are insincere and all that matters is outcomes.
    These things were far more important to the average American in colonial times and until the Progressive era.
    I was also struck by the parts about the era without a Parliament when the King would go to judges to get what he wanted. We are suffering an epidemic of this today, but not because Congress has been prorogued. Instead, too many members of Congress would rather be on cable TV than legislate. They just won’t do their job.

Leave a Reply