Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 October 2019
What impact did the Scottish Enlightenment have on the American founding? Given the variegated, feisty composition of the Scottish Enlightenment, this chapter resists the idea that that movement had any single, unequivocal effect on America. It instead surveys the rich array of ways in which Scottish thought found its way into America and then examines a series of interactions between particular Scottish thinkers and particular American activists. What was Frances Hutcheson’s influence on Thomas Jefferson? Did David Hume or Adam Smith have a greater influence on Madison? What lessons did various American educational leaders take away from Thomas Reid’s response to David Hume? By looking in detail at these three cases, the chapter attempts to convey the flavour, as well as the content, of the reception of Scottish philosophy in America.