A Biography


Thomas B. Macaulay

Thomas Babington Macaulay,was an English historian, essayist, and statesman born on .Oct. 25, 1800, and died on. Dec. 28, 1859, , Macaulay founded the Whig school of history. His parents were devout evangelicals who were active in the fight to abolish slavery; when Macaulay entered Parliament in 1830 he became a noted orator for the causes of reform and toleration. Macaulay argued vigorously for ending restrictions on Jews, and he made eloquent and forceful speeches in favor of extending the franchise during the debates on the Reform Bill of 1832. From 1834 to 1838 he served in British India, where, as a member of the governor\'s council, he helped establish a British-style educational system; he also drafted a penal code that became the basis of India\'s criminal law.

Macaulay again won a seat in Parliament upon his return to England, but he devoted most of his energies to writing. His collection, Critical and Historical Essays (1843), gained him celebrity. He intended, in his History of England from the Accession of James the Second, to write the history of his country from 1685 to his own era, but he had not yet completed the reign of William III when he died. Five volumes were published--two in 1849, two in 1855, and the fifth in 1861; their vast circulation was unprecedented. Macaulay\'s History, while often criticized for its bias against the Tory party, is cherished for its style. One of the great works of English literature, it exalts the Glorious Revolution of 1688 as a cornerstone of English liberty. This Whig view influenced the teaching of English history for several generations.