Biography of Walter Bagehot (1826-1877)

Economist and British political thinker, born February 3, 1826 in Langport, in the County of Somerset (England) and died on March 24, 1877, in the same city. He/She was the editor of The Economist, one of the most influential publications of the Victorian period.

Bagehot parents belonged to a family devoted to trade from many generations ago, while her mother was her sister of Vincent Sutckey, the owner of one of the largest banks in the West of England. He/She began his training in a severe School of the first Victorian period; He/She also attended the Langport grammar school, where he/she had a famous teacher who was a friend of the poet Wordsworth. At thirteen, he/she joined the British College, one of the best schools of Great Britain; in it, he/she graduated in philosophy, mathematics and literature (with special attention to the classics), and the new natural sciences; Certainly, their training was of such a nature that, without a doubt, it was not strange to maintain an intense activity, throughout his life, in high political and economic circles of the country.

Obviously, the logical choice, as far as the University is concerned, was the University College of London, since his father was unitary, and Oxford and Cambridge were dogmatically Anglican. Sir Edward Fry, one of his friends from Bristol, described him as "a young lanky, rather thin and long legs, with a face of marked vivacity and characterized by large eyes that always drew attention". Their sardonic way of being made him not to have too many friends until recent times that he/she spent at the University, which included that would be distinguished editor of the viewer at the end of century XIX, Richard Holt Hutton; William Roscoe, the great-grandson of a famous historian of medicine; Arthur Hugh Clough, poet; and Henry Crabb Robinson, senior, and who was a friend of Goethe, Schiller and Coleridge, and correspondent for The Times in the Napoleonic wars. In 1846 Bagehot received the degree of Bachelor's degree with honors from first class, despite his poor health, and in 1848 was awarded the degree of master with the gold medal from the University in Moral and intellectual philosophy.

Three years after graduation began to frequent the bars, where studied, while they never were to your liking; Despite this, this was the cause that took contact with the literature. He/She moved to Paris in 1851, where he/she began to write a series of articles in the newly founded weekly newspaper of the Unitarians, and those who defended the cause of Luis Napoleón; These articles caused many controversies, since the Napoleonic cause was not well seen in England. However, Bagehot continued writing, refused to work on the Bank of his uncle Stuckey, and devoted himself during the next six years to write a series of literary essays on Milton, Shakespeare, Gibbon, Sir Walter Scott, Pierre-Jean de Béranger, along with other students of politics that would be key characters in the history of the s. XIX, such as, among others, Saint-John Henry Bolingbroke, Sir Robert Peeland William Pitt.

His entry into professional journalism was accidental; in his office's banker, had written several articles on economy, which attracted the attention of James Wilson, who had founded The Economist in 1843, and who then extended their influence among the members of Parliament; and the Financial Secretary of the Treasury, Lord Palmerston. Wilson convinced Bagehot to stay in the newspaper, and this immediately fell in love with the eldest of the daughters of Wilson, Eliza. They married in April 1858, but they had no children, which meant for the wife of Bagehot a hard setback, which influenced significantly on the stability of her marriage.

Bagehot returned to Bristol in Stuckey Bank delegation, although a year later, Wilson invited him to undertake a journey to the India to organize the finances of the British Government in the Asian country. In 1860, in Calcutta, Wilson died, what did that you made Begehot to take the reins of The Economist. For 17 years he/she wrote the main article, and increased and extended sections of statistics and finances of The Economist, so far as getting that it become the main business newspaper and one of the main political publications of the world for more than 100 years. In addition, he/she helped to "humanize" policy, bringing it closer to social problems.

Bagehot defined himself as a liberal conservative, or claimed to be "between the two dimensions of the policy". Unlike other Liberals, he/she had grown in the field and had a deep feeling that approaching you social problems that had produced the rapid industrialization and urbanization that was experiencing Great Britain. An acute observer of international problems, with an instinctive affection towards France and, similarly, was also a distrust of the policy of Otto von Bismarck. His early years in The Economist coincided with the American Civil War, on whose development wrote about twenty items; instinctively, he/she was a Confederate, like many of his British contemporaries, but his reason made him to be a follower of Abraham Lincoln.

In 1867, he/she published the English Constitution, a true classic of political science, which examines the question of the separation of powers, and which was translated into several languages; in it he/she tries to delve into the structure of the British system of Government (Crown, Lords, and Commons) and see that measure is operated and where the real power rested. He/She was one of the first to observe the null power of the Cabinet in a party that governed an effective majority in the House of Commons. He/She cultivated a number of close friends in the political life, especially that of William Ewart Gladstone, who became the first liberal politician who became Prime Minister in 1868; that of Lord Carnarvon between the conservatives (the author of record of the British North America, the Constitution of Canada); and William Edward Forster (the author of the first act of public education in Great Britain).

However, Bagehot never succeeded in their own attempts to enter politics; tried it in Manchester, in Brigwater, near his home in Somerset (a district with a notorious reputation for corruption), and in 1867 in the University of London. However, it was a poor speaker, and failed on all occasions.

In 1872 Bagehot published physics and politics, with the idea of applying new discoveries in anthropology to the development of societies and Nations in themselves; This perspective was soon forgotten by development acquired by the sociological research in the s. XX, especially by the stimulation of Karl Marx and Max Weber; Despite this, one of the central points, the process of unconscious imitation as a mechanical force in the development of the Nations (that Bagehot called "the bread of the usual"), had a considerable influence on similar philosophical sociology of William James and Graham Wallas.

At that time, Bagehot and his wife lived in London, and it was the editor of a weekly magazine's growing influence. In the 1940s the fragility of his health was increasing, and all his energies were concentrated in the business economic studies. Lombard Street, which contained, in fact, the germ of the modern theory of the central bank and currency exchange control, appealing to the large reserve which was in the hands of the Bank of England, published in 1873. He/She was working on a series of economic studies when an attack of pneumonia made a dent in it, at the age of 51.

Their lifestyle, their humanity and their knowledge have made that his books have been continually read, returned to publish and are subject to a continuous review since his death. The Economist John Maynard Keynes, two generations later, made Justice of their great psychological knowledge. Also, thanks to Thomas Macaulay has been revived his posthumous memory, since he/she never received recognition in life. It has been described as one of the most versatile geniuses of her Victorian England. He/She wrote a number of literary essays that have been continually reprinted all century XX, a book about British politics that has become a classic, and one of the first sociological studies that apply the concept of the evolution of societies in themselves; This should add its important contribution to the theory of the central bank. The praises of his work have come from all areas, both culture and power, among them the President of the United States Woodrow Wilson, or the British Ambassador to Washington, Lord Bryce.