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Among Hume’s most important discussions of party can be found in his History of England, especially in the volumes on the seventeenth century. Hume explained to Adam Smith that he had begun his historical investigation with the Stuart period partly because the factions, which he believed still informed British politics in the eighteenth century, arose at that time. His own historical work, however, was a conscious attempt to rise above faction and to see things both ways, which he believed English historiography had failed to do before him. This chapter places Hume’s History in the context of Rapin and Bolingbroke, but also in the broader context of debate around ancient constitutionalism and Whig history. This chapter points to the important influence of Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws, which had a notable impact on Hume between his essays and the publication of the History.
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