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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  • Christianity and Classical Culture

    by Charles Norris Cochrane

    Christianity and Classical Culture is considered one of the great works of scholarship published in the last century. The theme of Christianity and Classical Culture is the fundamental change in thought and action that occurred from the reign of Augustus to the time of Augustine. The classical world sought to practice politics and understand the world in purely rational terms,…

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  • Collected Political Writings of James Otis

    by James Otis

    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…

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  • Collected Works of James Wilson

    by James Wilson

    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. Wilson’s writings and speeches had a significant impact on the deliberations that produced the cornerstone documents…

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  • Collected Works of John Stuart Mill

    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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  • Colonial Origins of the American Constitution

    by Donald S. Lutz

    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. Donald S. Lutz is Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston.

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  • Commentary on Filangieri’s Work

    by Benjamin Constant

    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. Commentary is founded on the view that government should maintain a strictly limited role in society; “The functions of government…

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  • Commerce and Government Considered in Their Mutual Relationship

    by Étienne Bonnot, Abbé de Condillac

    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. Commerce and Government has been called “one of the most sustained defenses of economic liberty in the eighteenth century.” In Condillac’s own words,…

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  • Commerce, Culture, and Liberty

    by Henry C. Clark

    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…

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  • Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution

    by Germaine de Staël

    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. Germaine de Staël’s voice, which Napoleon Bonaparte tried to silence by censorship and banishment, is a unique and important contribution to revolutionary historiography. Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution, considered Madame…

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  • The Crisis

    by Neil L. York

    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…

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  • David Hume: Prophet of the Counter-revolution

    by Laurence L. Bongie

    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…

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  • The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context

    by Barry Alan Shain

    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.

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