This book examines how David Hume and Adam Smith forged a new way of thinking about the modern state. It considers what Hume referred to as the opinion of mankind, a political theory found in the second and third books of A Treatise of Human Nature. Smith read and absorbed Hume's arguments, adapting them to his own purposes in the construction of a political theory that would move beyond the Treatise. Both Hume and Smith rejected Thomas Hobbes's vision of human nature and his arguments about our capacity to form stable societies over time. The book discusses Hume's theory of sociability, the role of history and the family in debates over human sociability and the foundations of politics, and Smith's theory of regime forms. This introduction provides an overview of the theory of the state and the history of political thought.
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