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Chapter 4 - David Hume’s Early Essays on Party Politics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 January 2021

Max Skjönsberg
Affiliation:
University of Liverpool
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Summary

Few, if any, political thinkers of the eighteenth century dealt as thoroughly and extensively with party as David Hume (1711–76). This chapter considers Hume’s first batch of essays on British politics, published in 1741–2. Hume analysed how the Whig–Tory and Court–Country alignments were integral to British party politics, with the former dividing the political nation along dynastic and religious lines and the latter being a natural expression of the workings of the mixed constitution and interparliamentary conflict. His analysis can be read as a compromise between Bolingbroke and Walpole. Yet it was something more than that – and arguably the most ambitious attempt to make sense of party in British politics to date.

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The Persistence of Party
Ideas of Harmonious Discord in Eighteenth-Century Britain
, pp. 111 - 139
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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