A Weak State and a Weak Church

Iain McLean

in Adam Smith, Radical and Egalitarian

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748623525
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672110 | DOI:
A Weak State and a Weak Church

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This chapter discusses the weak church and the weak state which alone made it possible for Adam Smith's thought to emerge at all, but which set him a range of intellectual problems to solve in his two books. The main concession demanded by the Scots related to the protection of the national church. There were two main strands of Presbyterianism in Smith's Scotland. The war of the loose and the austere raged for the whole of Smith's lifetime. The weakness of church and state gave Smith and David Hume the space in which they could write and publish freely. It then describes Smith's assessment of the Scottish church as an agency of social improvement. Adam Smith strongly influenced Robert Burns on writing his poems. Burns played a large role in creating a mythic Scottish history in which the good guys were constantly betrayed by the bad guys.

Keywords: weak state; weak church; Adam Smith; Scottish church; Presbyterianism; Scotland; Robert Burns; David Hume

Chapter.  8675 words. 

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