Original Research

The Whig interpretation of history

Christopher Torr
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 3, No 1 | a2598 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v3i1.2598 | © 2018 Christopher Torr | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 July 2018 | Published: 31 March 2000

About the author(s)

Christopher Torr, Department of Economics, University of South Africa, South Africa

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In economics, as in other disciplines, one often comes across the term "Whig" or its derivatives. One will find, for example, a particular account being branded as whiggish. Butterfield, who was a historian, introduced the idea of a Whig interpretation of history in 1931. Since then the term has usually been used to classify an approach which views the present as the culmination of a march of progress. This paper provides a brief background to the origin of the term and why Butterfield criticised what he called the Whig interpretation of history.


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