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Scottish Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century, Volume IMorals, Politics, Art, Religion$
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Aaron Garrett and James A. Harris

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199560677

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199560677.001.0001

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(p.361) 10 Revolution
Scottish Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century, Volume I

Emma Macleod

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the views expressed by the Scottish Enlightenment philosophers on the subject of political resistance and revolution in the later eighteenth century—in practical terms, the revolutions in America and France. It begins by considering the philosophical opinions they published regarding the right to resist government in theory. It then analyses the views they expressed on the events in the American colonies and in France. It shows that the Scottish literati wrote with nuance and discernment about the idea of revolution. All of the Scottish philosophers who commented on the French Revolution recognized a greater degree of misgovernment in ancien régime France than they had observed in Britain’s constitutional monarchy and its American colonies; and the question of empire was significant in their responses to each case.

Keywords:   Scottish Enlightenment, Scottish philosophy, philosophers, political resistance, American Revolution, French Revolution

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