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Adam Smith's Politics : An Essay in Historiographic Revision - Donald Winch

Adam Smith's Politics

An Essay in Historiographic Revision

Paperback Published: 17th July 1978
ISBN: 9780521292887
Number Of Pages: 220

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For most of the two hundred years or so that have passed since the publication of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith's writings on political and economic questions have been viewed within a liberal capitalist perspective of nineteenth- and twentieth- century provenance. This essay in interpretation seeks to provide a more historical reading of certain political themes which recur in Smith's writings by bringing eighteenth-century perspectives to bear on the problem. Contrary to the view that sees Smith's work as marking the point at which 'politics' was being eclipsed by 'economics', it claims that Smith has a 'politics' which goes beyond certain political attitudes connected with the role of the state in economic affairs. It argues that he employs a consistent mode of political analysis which cannot be encompassed within the standard liberal capitalist categories, but can be understood by reference to the language and qualities of contemporary political debate, and of the eighteenth-century science of politics cultivated by Montesquieu and, above all, Hume, particularly as revealed by recent scholarship. A concluding chapter draws the various strands of the interpretation together to form a portrait of what Smith might legitimately be said to have been doing when he wrote on these matters.

Introduction: the problem - the liberal capitalist perspective
Republican and sceptical Whiggism
Hutcheson and Smith: Real Whig versus sceptical Whig
Commerce, liberty and justices
Martial spirit and mental mutilation
A ruinous expedient
The present disturbances
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521292887
ISBN-10: 0521292883
Series: Cambridge Studies in the History and Theory of Politics
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 220
Published: 17th July 1978
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.74 x 14.25  x 1.42
Weight (kg): 0.29