Adam Ferguson in the Scottish Enlightenment
Unlike his contemporaries, who saw Europe’s prosperity as confirmation of a utopian future, the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher Adam Ferguson saw a reminder of Rome’s lesson that egalitarian democracy could become a self-undermining path to dictatorship. This is a major reassessment of a critic overshadowed today by David Hume and Adam Smith.
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Adam Ferguson Adam Smith agrarian analysis ancient ancient Rome argued argument aristocracy army authority barbarous baron de Montesquieu Britain British broader Cambridge citizens civil and military civil society claim commercial society conquest constitution contemporary critical critique crucial dangerous David Hume debates democracy democratic despotism Discourse distinction of ranks economic Edinburgh eighteenth-century empire England Essay establishment Europe Europe’s European Ferguson wrote foundations France France’s Francis Hutcheson French Revolution History of Civil honor human Hume Hume’s Hutcheson Ibid imperial inequality institutions J. G. A. Pocock John Kames Laws Lectures legislative London Mably mankind military government military power militia modern monarchy Montesquieu moral and political Moral Philosophy nations nature nobility original patriotism political thought popular Princeton Principles Quentin Skinner Ramsay reform republic’s republican Robertson Roman Republic Roman Senate Rome Rome’s Rousseau Scottish Enlightenment senate Shaftesbury social Spirit subordination trans underlined University Press virtue vols wealth William