Thomas Babington Macaulay

Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, FRS FRSE PC (25 October 1800  28 December 1859) was a British historian and Whig politician. He is considered primarily responsible for introducing the Western education system in India. He wrote extensively as an essayist, on contemporary and historical sociopolitical subjects, and as a reviewer. His The History of England was a seminal and paradigmatic example of Whig historiography, and its literary style has remained an object of praise since its publication, including subsequent to the widespread condemnation of its historical contentions which became popular in the 20th century.[1]


The Lord Macaulay

Photogravure of Macaulay by Antoine Claudet
Secretary at War
In office
27 September 1839  30 August 1841
MonarchVictoria
Prime MinisterThe Viscount Melbourne
Preceded byViscount Howick
Succeeded bySir Henry Hardinge
Paymaster-General
In office
7 July 1846  8 May 1848
MonarchVictoria
Prime MinisterLord John Russell
Preceded byHon. Bingham Baring
Succeeded byThe Earl Granville
Personal details
Born(1800-10-25)25 October 1800
Leicestershire, England
Died28 December 1859(1859-12-28) (aged 59)
London, England
NationalityBritish
Political partyWhig
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
OccupationPolitician
ProfessionHistorian
Signature

Macaulay served as the Secretary at War between 1839 and 1841, and as the Paymaster-General between 1846 and 1848. He played a major role in the introduction of English and western concepts to education in India, and published his argument on the subject in the "Macaulay's Minute" in 1835. He supported the replacement of Persian by English as the official language, the use of English as the medium of instruction in all schools, and the training of English-speaking Indians as teachers.[1] This led to Macaulayism in India, and the systematic wiping out of traditional and ancient Indian education and vocational systems and sciences.[2]

Macaulay divided the world into civilised nations and barbarism, with Britain representing the high point of civilisation. In his Minute on Indian Education of February 1835, he asserted, "It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanskrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgments used at preparatory schools in England".[3] He was wedded to the idea of progress, especially in terms of the liberal freedoms. He opposed radicalism while idealising historic British culture and traditions.[1]