Date of Award

Spring 1954

Document Type





This thesis is an attempt to show in a general way the rationalistic forces acting upon him through the social and intellectual order of the time, and to show by reference and example the effects of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century atmosphere upon his attitudes toward Science, religion, Politics, ethics, and Literature and Learning. Such a project is rather large for a thesis. The method here will be to outline incompletely. It is obvious that the details and connotations of any of his major works or Ideas would be sufficient material. What we are after here is a general picture, an outline, as it were, of his particular mental cast.

It Is very difficult, If not impossible, to reduce a man’s thinking to separate headings. Swift was, as we shall see, a moralist above all. Consequently, the section on ethics is very difficult to limit to the realm of pure ethical thought. Likewise, Politics and religion are intermingled to such a degree as to be almost inseparable. The biographical sketch at the beginning may perhaps seem out of place. It is intended in part to show the diversity of his experiences and through the diversities give a clue to his background. It is perhaps unnecessary. But, like the Capitoline geese, we would rather err or the side which is safer.