Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lewis Bernstein Namier
Lewis Bernstein Namier (June 27 1888 – August 19 1960) was a significant British historian. He was born Ludwik Niemirowski in Wola Okrejska in what was then Austria-Hungary and is today Poland. His familiy were secular-minded Jewish gentry. Namier was educated at universities of Lemberg (Lviv, Ukraine), Lausanne, and the London School of Economics. At Lausanne, he heard Vilfredo Pareto lecture and whose ideas would have much influence on him.
He immigrated to Britain in 1906 and became an British subject in 1913. During World War One, he fought as private with 20th Royal Fusiliers in 1914–15, and then various positions with Propaganda Department (1915–17), Information Department (1917–18) and finally with the Foreign Office (1918–20). After leaving the government, Namier served at Balliol College (1920–21) before going into business. Later, Namier who was an long-time Zionist worked as political secretary for the Jewish Agency in Palestine (1929–31). He served as professor at the University of Manchester from 1931 until his retirement in 1953.
He is best known for his work on parliament and its composition in the latter part of the eighteenth century, which by its very detailed study of individuals caused substantial revision to be made to accounts based on a party system. Namier's best known works were The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III, England in The Age of the American Revolution and the History Of Parliament series he edited later in his life. Namier used prosopgraphy or collective biography of every MP and peer who sat in the British Parliament in later the 18th century to reveal that local interests, not national ones, often determined how parliamentarians voted. Namier felt that prosopographical methods were the best ones for analyzing small groups like the House of Commons, but was opposed to the application of prosopography on larger groups.
In addition, Namier used other sources such as wills and tax records to reveal the interests of the MPs. In his time, Namier's methods were innovative and were quite controversial. Namier's obsession with collecting facts such as club membership of various MPs and then attempting to co-relate them to voting patterns led his critics to accuse him of "taking ideas of history".
He also wrote on European history, and his later books Europe in Decay, In the Nazi Era and Diplomatic Prelude unsparing condemned the Third Reich and appeasement. As someone born Jewish (Namier had converted to Anglicism), Namier was horrified by the Holocaust and his writings on German history have criticized for Germanophobia. He was married twice and knighted in 1952. Namier held very right-wing views, and has been called the most reactionary British historian of his generation.
- The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III, 1929.
- England in The Age of the American Revolution, 1930.
- In the Margin of History, 1939.
- Conflicts: Studies in Contemporary History, 1942.
- 1848: The Revolution of the Intellectuals, 1944.
- Facing East: essays on Germany, the Balkans and Russia in the twentieth century, 1947.
- Diplomatic prelude, 1938–1939, 1948.
- Europe in Decay: A Study in Disintegration, 1936–40, 1950.
- Avenues of History, 1952.
- In the Nazi era, 1952.
- Basic Factors in Nineteenth-Century European History, 1953.
- Monarchy and the party system : the Romanes lecture delivered in the Sheldonian Theatre 15 May 1952, 1952.
- Personalities and powers, 1955.
- Vanished Supremacies; essays on European history, 1812–1918, 1958.
- Crossroads of Power: essays on eighteenth-century England, 1962.
- The House of Commons, 1754–1790, 1966, 1964, edited by John Brooke & Sir Lewis Namier.
- Colley, Linda Lewis Namier New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989.
- Namier, Julia Lewis Namier: A biography, London: Oxford University Press, 1971.
- Pares, Richard & Taylor, A.J.P. (editors) Essays Presented to Sir Lewis Namier, London: Macmillan Press, 1956.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details