The end of economic statecraft
David Hume’s History of England
in Commerce, finance and statecraft

This chapter is concerned with the relationship between David Hume’s writing on political economy and his History of England (1754–61). Underpinning his analysis in these works, it is argued, was an attempt to give England's commercial and financial interests – interests which were in Hume's estimation of vital importance to government – a proper intellectual foundation. In performing this task, Hume developed a damning critique of the economic statecraft tradition; indeed, it was, in part, the misunderstandings of economic affairs committed by previous generations of historians that he sought to warn his readers against and correct. The chapter opens by looking at how these ideas shaped his essays of the 1740s and 1750s, before moving on to look in detail at the History.

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Commerce, finance and statecraft

Histories of England, 1600–1780


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