Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 April 2020
Chapter 1 gives the historical context for Burke’s commentary on political economy. I first provide a sketch of Burke’s biography, with particular stress on the events and activities in his life that related to questions of commerce, property, and markets. For instance, I discuss Burke’s early interest in political economy as a member of his college debating club; and I explain how his activities as a farmer on his landed estate informed his views on the British agricultural economy. This chapter also marshals evidence showing that Burke earned a strong reputation in public and private life as an authoritative thinker on commercial policy, indicating that we should study his economic thought with heightened seriousness.