Political Thought

Our titles in political thought encompass the ideals of the classical liberal tradition, such as self-government, the rule of law, and constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press. The collection includes foundational writings from such thinkers as John Locke, David Hume, Bernard Mandeville, and Alexis de Tocqueville, as well as twentieth-century perspectives from writers like Michael Oakeshott and Bertrand de Jouvenel. These titles represent thinkers from different times and contexts, offering the reader a variety of texts that have helped shape the ideas of liberty in today’s society.

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  • Principles of Political Economy

    by John Stuart Mill

    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…

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  • Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments

    by Benjamin Constant

    In Principles of Politics, first published in 1815, Constant explores the subjects of law, sovereignty, and representation; power and accountability; government, property, and taxation; wealth and poverty; war, peace, and the maintenance of public order; and freedom, of the individual, of the press, and of religion. Benjamin Constant (1767–1830), born in Switzerland, became one of France’s leading writers, as well…

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  • The Pure Theory of Politics

    by Bertrand de Jouvenel

    This is the final volume in Jouvenel’s magnum opus, the trilogy that begins with On Power, moves to Sovereignty, and concludes with The Pure Theory of Politics. In this volume, Bertrand de Jouvenel proposes to remedy a serious deficiency in political science: “the lack of agreement on first principles, or ‘elements.’” The author’s concern is with political processes as they…

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  • The Pursuit of Certainty

    by Shirley Robin Letwin

    By examining the thought of four seminal thinkers, Shirley Robin Letwin in The Pursuit of Certainty provides a brilliant record of the gradual change in the English-speaking peoples’ understanding of “what sort of activity politics is.” As Letwin writes, “the distinctive political issue since the eighteenth century has been whether government should do more or less.” Nor, as many historians…

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  • Rational Man

    by Henry Babcock Veatch

    Forty years after its original publication, Liberty Fund brings back to print Henry Veatch’s path-breaking popular presentation of virtue ethics. This modern interpretation of Aristotelian ethics is a natural for undergraduate philosophy courses. It is also an engaging work for the expert and the beginner alike, offering a middle ground between existential and analytic ethics. Veatch argues for the existence…

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  • Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays

    by Michael Oakeshott

    Rationalism in Politics established the late Michael Oakeshott as the leading conservative political theorist in modern Britain. This expanded collection of essays astutely points out the limits of “reason” in rationalist politics and criticizes ideological schemes to reform society according to supposedly “scientific” or rationalistic principles that ignore the wealth and variety of human experience. Timothy Fuller is Professor of…

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  • Select Works of Edmund Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France

    by Edmund Burke

    Originally published by Oxford University Press in the 1890s, the famed three-volume Payne edition of Select Works is universally revered by students of English history and political thought. Faithfully reproduced in each volume are E. J. Payne’s notes and introductory essays. Francis Canavan, one of the great Burke scholars of the twentieth century, has added forewords. Volume 2 consists of…

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  • Reflections on the Rise and Fall of the Ancient Republicks

    by Edward Wortley Montagu

    In 1759, at the height of the Seven Years’ War, when Great Britain was suffering a series of military reversals, Montagu considered his country’s plight in an historical context formed by the study of five ancient republics: Sparta, Athens, Thebes, Carthage, and Rome. Montagu’s focus on the ancient republics gives his contribution a distinctive twist to the chorus of voices…

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  • The Revolutionary Writings of Alexander Hamilton

    by Alexander Hamilton

    Alexander Hamilton, trusted military aide and secretary to General George Washington, wrote to persuade. He had the ability to clarify the complex issues of his time without oversimplifying them. From the basic core values established in his earlier writings to the more assertive vision of government in his mature work, we see how Hamilton’s thought responded to the emerging nation…

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  • The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams

    by John Adams

    The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams presents the principal shorter writings in which Adams addresses the prospect of revolution and the form of government proper to the new United States. This collection illustrates that it was Adams who, before the Revolution, wrote some of the most important documents on the nature of the British Constitution and the meaning of rights,…

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  • The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State, and Other Essays

    by Auberon Herbert

    Auberon Herbert (1838–1906) is an eloquent, forceful, and uncompromising defender of liberty—indeed, in the judgment of Richard M. Ebeling he is “one of the most important and articulate advocates of liberty in the last two hundred years.” Herbert was a major participant in the profound and wide-ranging intellectual ferment of the late Victorian age. He formulated a system of “thorough”…

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  • The Roots of Liberty

    by Ellis Sandoz

    The Roots of Liberty is a critical collection of essays on the origin and nature of the often elusive idea of liberty. The essays address early medieval developments, encompassing such seminal issues as the common-law mind of the sixteenth century under the Tudor monarchs, the struggle for power and authority between the Stuart kings and Parliament in the seventeenth century,…

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