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Chapter 1 - Political Economy and Commercial Society in the 1790s

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 February 2024

Catherine Packham
Affiliation:
University of Sussex
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Summary

This chapter explores how political economy was understood in Joseph Johnson’s periodical, the Analytical Review, by investigating which publications were listed under the heading of ‘political economy’, and how they were reviewed. It thereby illuminates how political economy was understood in Wollstonecraft’s intellectual milieu. Political economy emerges as a heterogeneous discourse where political and moral ideas mixed with the economic, and where discussions of human nature, and human motivation, as well as of civil society, were often prominent. Writings reviewed as ‘political economy’ in the Analytical Review reveal how the term was used by radical and progressive thinkers as a means for collecting a range of critical perspectives on contemporary society, as well as setting out possible means of improvement. In the eyes of the Analytical Review, political economy offered the prospect of enacting reforms which might increase the happiness of ordinary people, and a means of critiquing existing injustices.

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Mary Wollstonecraft and Political Economy
The Feminist Critique of Commercial Modernity
, pp. 25 - 49
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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