Reflections on the Revolution in France Questions and Answers
by Edmund Burke

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  Explain the following quote: "Society is indeed a contract. . . . As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born" (203).

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This quotation is from Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke took a disapproving attitude to the Revolution, which was not necessarily what would have been expected of him—he had advocated for many other liberal causes, including the American Revolution and the disentanglement of his home country, Ireland, from British rule. However, Burke felt that the French revolutionaries were not conducting themselves in a way which was productive, or which would help them form the kind of society which he felt should be striven towards at all times.

Burke disapproved of the French Revolution because, unlike other revolutions, he felt that it was an attack on what was fundamental to French civilization itself, rather than an attempt by a disenfranchised people to free themselves. He noted that part of what makes society function is for us to be defined by the "subdivision" of it to which we belong. The Revolutionaries wanted to...

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