hume as an ami de la liberté: The reception of his “idea of a perfect commonwealth

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Abstract

Despite the recent boom in research on the reception and influence of Hume's writings, most scholars have overlooked the fact that his enigmatic essay “Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth,” published in the Political Discourses in 1752, not only attracted the attention of some French intellectuals before and after the Revolution, but was also taken seriously by a significant number of radicals-such as Paine, Price, Godwin, Wollstonecraft-and other reform-minded Whigs-such as James Mackintosh. Although the influence of Hume's plan on The Federalist, No 10, has been much discussed, what is more important is that these British reformers often associated his plan with the National Assembly after the Revolution in France. This essay demonstrates that Hume's plan of a large republic with a bicameral system through a two-tier election was an important intellectual resource for his contemporaries and for later generations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-596
Number of pages28
JournalModern Intellectual History
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science

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