C. E. Fryer (review date 1913)
SOURCE: A review of Histoire de Peuple Anglais au XIXe Siecle, Vol. I, in The American Historical Review, Vol. XVIII, No. 2, January, 1913, pp. 367-68.
[In the following review, Fryer praises the originality of Halévy's thesis concerning nineteenth-century English history, while acknowledging the logical shortcomings of his arguments.]
This volume [Histoire du Peuple Anglais au XIXe Siècle. Tome I. L'Angleterre en 1815] is the first of four projected by M. Halévy as a history of the English people in the nineteenth century. The undertaking is monumental. It deserves notice because M. Halévy is one of the first writers to essay a definitive synthesis of the monograph material for the period. But, to judge from this first installment, his interpretation will disregard traditional views and offer suggestions that are quite new. Already, in this introductory volume, dealing with English society at the close of the Napoleonic struggle, he advances a theory the originality of which is apparent. He is trying to determine why England, in contrast to the Continental states of Europe, has enjoyed throughout the nineteenth century a public opinion that invariably maintains itself within conservative and non-revolutionary limits. The question draws from M. Halévy an exhaustive review of the institutional side of English life—this being the substance of the first volume.
The commonplace view that English political institutions make for stability he rejects entirely: in the sphere of economics he sees in distribution,...
(The entire section is 670 words.)