The writings of James Otis arguably had more influence in America and England before 1774 than those of any other American except John Dickinson. John Adams pointed to Otis as the first man to have plumbed the depths of the argument between Britain and the Anglo-American colonies. Anyone who wishes to understand the American Revolution, the American founding, and American political thought would benefit greatly from reading Otis’s political writings.
This two-volume set brings together a collection of writings and speeches of James Wilson, one of only six signers of both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, and one of the most influential members of the federal Constitutional Convention in 1787.
Liberty Fund is pleased to make available in paperback eight of the original thirty-three cloth volumes of the Collected Works of John Stuart Mill that were first published by the University of Toronto Press that remain most relevant to liberty and responsibility in the twenty-first century. Born in London in 1806 and educated at the knee of his father, the Scottish philosopher James Mill, John Stuart Mill became one of the nineteenth century’s most influential writers on economics and social philosophy.
This landmark collection of eighty documents created by the American colonists—and not English officials—is the genesis of American fundamental law and constitutionalism. Included are all documents attempting to unite the colonies, beginning with the New England Confederation of 1643.
Commentary on Filangieri’s Work addresses the principal political and social questions that Benjamin Constant, one of the most important liberal thinkers of the nineteenth century, ever discussed. This translation will help give the work its deserved importance in political theory.
French philosopher Abbé de Condillac produced perhaps the most original contributions to eighteenth-century economics. His conclusions as to the desirability of removing barriers to free trade and of competitive market economies mirrored Smith’s, published three months later.
This collection of thirty-seven readings (from thirty-three writers) brings together some of the most significant pre–Adam Smith writings on the political and cultural dimensions of capitalism. To modern readers, these seventeenth- and eighteenth-century discussions of commerce and economic life in general are surprising because they are so closely integrated with current moral and cultural issues. Part of the value of this book is in reminding us that many of our own concerns are not without precedent and earlier reflection.
Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution was a winner in the Scholarly/Reference category at the Chicago Book Clinic’s 2009 Book & Media Show.
The Crisis was a London weekly published between January 1775 and October 1776. It was the longest-running weekly pamphlet series printed in the British Atlantic world during those years, and it used unusually bold, pithy language. Neither the longevity of the effort nor the colorful language employed would be reason enough to collect and print all ninety-two issues under one cover in a modern edition. The Crisis lays claim to our attention because of its place in the rise of freedom of the press, its self-conscious attempt to create a transatlantic community of protest, and its targeting of the king as the source of political problems—but without attacking the institution of monarchy itself.
Though usually Edmund Burke is identified as the first to articulate the principles of a modern conservative political tradition, arguably he was preceded by a Scotsman who is better known for espousing a brilliant concept of skepticism. As Laurence Bongie notes, “David Hume was undoubtedly the eighteenth-century British writer whose works were most widely known and acclaimed on the Continent during the later Enlightenment period. Hume’s impact [in France] was of undeniable importance, greater even for a time than the related influence of Burke, although it represents a contribution to French counter-revolutionary thought which, unlike that of Burke, has been almost totally ignored by historians to this day.” The bulk of Bongie’s work consists of the writings of French readers of Hume who were confronted, first, by the ideology of human perfection and, finally, by the actual terrors of the French Revolution. Offered in French in the original edition of David Hume published by Oxford University Press in 1965, these vitally important writings have been translated by the author into English for the Liberty Fund second edition. In his foreword, Donald Livingston observes that “If conservatism is taken to be an intellectual critique of the first attempt at modern total revolution, then the first such event was not the French but the Puritan revolution, and the first systematic critique of this sort of act was given by Hume.”
An excellent addition to anyone’s primary source collection, the documents presented in this edition serve to understand the Declaration and the Revolutionary War against the backdrop provided by the hundreds of continental-level congressional state papers––declarations, petitions, resolutions, and proclamations––and the debates and correspondence of those in attendance at the first national congresses.
Irving Babbitt was a leader of the intellectual movement called American Humanism, or the New Humanism, and a distinguished professor of French literature at Harvard. Democracy and Leadership, first published in 1924, is his only directly political book, and in it he applies the principles of humanism to the civil social order.