Adam Smith - Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment...

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1 Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment 1723-1790 Scotland in the 18 th Century • Poverty of the highlands; prosperity of the low lands; gentry in the lowlands seen as improvers • 1707 incorporated into the London parliament – loss of independence; England becomes Britain • Political divisions: Jacobites vs Whigs • Jacobites – followers of the old Stuart kings • Whigs – supporters of the Hanoverian monarchy and “improvers” • 1715 and 1745 – open rebellion led by Jacobites
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2 Scottish Enlightenment • A large cast of characters led by Adam Smith and David Hume • Liberal Protestant establishment particularly in Edinburgh • Universities play a key role (unlike in France where Catholic clergy controlled them) • Freethinking and skepticism commonplace
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3 Smith’s audience as he saw them • Landed proprietors, sometimes called by him middling ranks, country gentlemen • Capital of 2 to 3,000 pounds gave independence and the happiness connected with property • “prudent” “sober” “public spirited” and more trust worthy than merchants • Also included lawyers, ministers, university professors – absolutely not the working class, or “the vulgar” as Smith called them Smith as tutor then university professor • Key to his thinking he is the professor of moral philosophy • At Glasgow taught the children of the gentry (aristocracy tended to go to Oxford and Cambridge) • This agrarian middle class performs an ethical
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This note was uploaded on 04/12/2008 for the course GE CLUST 21B taught by Professor Porter during the Winter '08 term at UCLA.

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Adam Smith - Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment...

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