Ferguson's Scottish Contexts: Life, Ideas, and Interlocutors

Fania Oz-salzberger

in Translating the Enlightenment

Published in print March 1995 | ISBN: 9780198205197
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676543 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Ferguson's Scottish Contexts: Life, Ideas, and Interlocutors

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter presents a reading of Adam Ferguson's political thoughts in Scottish contexts. It suggests that it was Ferguson's idea of human nature that led him to reject any form of government which does not guarantee freedom for political participation. He believed that the freedom of a state should be measured by the number of participants in politics, decision-makers as well as public actors and civil servants. While this is less than democratic, it was pointedly republican and uncompromisingly participationist.

Keywords: Adam Ferguson; political thought; human nature; political participation; republicanism; participationism

Chapter.  16137 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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