Edmund Burke “The age of chivalry is gone.” 1793

June 12, 2017
Posted in Culture, Quotes
June 12, 2017 Matthew

Edmund Burke’s famous words are widely understood as marking the end of an era of honor and nobility and the beginning of an era of passivity and deference. The timing of these words with the Industrial Revolution I don’t think is coincidental.

I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her [Marie Antoinette, the French Queen] with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever. Never, never more shall we behold the generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom.

Reflections on the French Revolution

This was written in 1793 on the heels of the French Revolution. The Industrial Revolution was from 1760-1840. Historians are always debating the causes of the French Revolution. But however complex they may be there can be no doubt that the Industrial Revolution played a very big role—when men became “sophisters, economists, and calculators”.

Chivalry itself is not dead of course, evidenced by the fact that this same quote is still being repeated today.

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