David Hume and Eighteenth-Century America

Overview

This book explores the reception of David Hume's political thought in eighteenth-century America. It presents a challenge to standard interpretations that assume Hume's thought had little influence in early America. Eighteenth-century Americans are often supposed to have ignored Hume's philosophical writings and to have rejected entirely Hume's "Tory" History of England. James Madison, if he used Hume's ideas in Federalist No. 10, it is commonly argued, thought best to do so silently -- open allegiance to Hume ...
See more details below
Paperback
$43.26
BN.com price
(Save 13%)$49.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (2) from $51.02   
  • New (2) from $51.02   
Sending request ...

Overview

This book explores the reception of David Hume's political thought in eighteenth-century America. It presents a challenge to standard interpretations that assume Hume's thought had little influence in early America. Eighteenth-century Americans are often supposed to have ignored Hume's philosophical writings and to have rejected entirely Hume's "Tory" History of England. James Madison, if he used Hume's ideas in Federalist No. 10, it is commonly argued, thought best to do so silently -- open allegiance to Hume was a liability. Despite renewed debate about the impact of Hume's political ideas in America, existing scholarship is often narrow and highly speculative. Were Hume's works available in eighteenth-century America? If so, which works? Where? When? Who read Hume? To what avail? To answer questions of that sort, this books draws upon a wide assortment of evidence. Early American book catalogues, periodical publications, and the writings of lesser-light thinkers are used to describe Hume's impact on the social history of ideas, an essential context for understanding Hume's influence on many of the classic texts of early American political thought. Hume's Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, was readily available, earlier, and more widely, than scholars have supposed. The History of England was read most frequently of all, however, and often in distinctive ways. Hume's History, which presented the British constitution as a patch-work product of chance historical developments, informed the origins of the American Revolution and Hume's subsequent reception through the late eighteenth century. The 326 subscribers to the first American edition of Hume's History (published in Philadelphia in 1795/96) are more representative of the History's friendly reception in enlightened America than are its few critics. Thomas Jefferson's latter-day rejection of Hume's political thought foreshadowed Hume's falling reputation in nineteenth-century America. MARK G. SPENCER is Associate Professor of History at Brock University where he holds a Chancellor's Chair for Research Excellence. His books include Hume's Reception in Early America (2002), Utilitarians and Their Critics in America, 1789-1914 (2005), and Ulster Presbyterians in the Atlantic World (2006).
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This is an exceptionally good book: it unequivocally establishes the prevalence of "flawed assessments of Hume's reception in America, (and) serious misunderstandings about the intellectual origins of the American Revolution." The book is very well-written, impeccably documented, and should be in every self-respecting library - private or institutional. --Peter Jones, Enlightenment and Dissent One central truism about historical scholarship is challenged head-on by Mark Spencer's new book. This is that all answers are necessarily provisional, subject to endless adjustment and further revision in the light of subsequent evidence and refinements in argument. That David Hume and Eighteenth-Century America is likely to brook no such contingency will be obvious to all who read it. For with exemplary commitment to the recovery and analysis of previously unknown data, it will scotch forever a series of assumptions, important to an understanding of the relationship of the Scottish Enlightenment and the American Revolution, that have hitherto enjoyed remarkable currency. --David Allan, Scottish Historical Review Copiously researched, David Hume and Eighteenth-Century America recovers Hume's importance, particularly as a political theorist, to a wide range of readers and writers in the late colonial, revolutionary, and early republican periods. Spencer gives the impression of leaving no stone unturned: book, catalogues, newspaper articles, political tracts, correspondence, and subscription lists are all mined for Hume's appearances and echoes. Spencer's book is a model of rigorous investigative scholarship, and is likely to remain the standard work for years to come on the topic of David Hume and eighteenth-century American political thought. --Adam Potkay, College of William & Mary, in EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY LIFE
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580463447
  • Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Series: Rochester Studies in Philosophy , #10
  • Pages: 546
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)