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The Secular Enlightenment$
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Margaret C. Jacob

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161327

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161327.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 22 November 2019

The Scottish Enlightenment in Edinburgh

The Scottish Enlightenment in Edinburgh

Chapter:
(p.124) 5 The Scottish Enlightenment in Edinburgh
Source:
The Secular Enlightenment
Author(s):

Margaret C. Jacob

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691161327.003.0005

This chapter assesses how the eighteenth century in Scotland witnessed a secular Enlightenment different from those found in Paris or London. For one thing, size mattered. The largest city in Scotland in 1700, Edinburgh, contained probably 40,000 people. It is much harder to police thought and behavior in cities with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, such as London, Amsterdam, and Paris. Scotland was also far more rural than either England or the Dutch Republic. In a city like Edinburgh, the educated elite, among whom one might reasonably expect new ideas to germinate and take hold, can best be described as led by presbyterian clergy and university professors marked by “an extraordinarily high degree of inbreeding and clannishness.” The social cohesiveness of the urban elite with its strong ties to the landed gave Scotland a distinctiveness all its own.

Keywords:   Scotland, secular Enlightenment, Scottish Enlightenment, Edinburgh, educated elite, presbyterian clergy, university professors, urban elite

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