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The Natural Law Cover

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The Natural Law

Heinrich A. Rommen

Originally published in German in 1936, The Natural Law is the first work to clarify the differences between traditional natural law as represented in the writings of Cicero, Aquinas, and Hooker and the revolutionary doctrines of natural rights espoused by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Beginning with the legacies of Greek and Roman life and thought, Rommen traces the natural law tradition to its displacement by legal positivism and concludes with what the author calls "the reappearance" of natural law thought in more recent times. In seven chapters each Rommen explores "The History of the Idea of Natural Law" and "The Philosophy and Content of the Natural Law." In his introduction, Russell Hittinger places Rommen's work in the context of contemporary debate on the relevance of natural law to philosophical inquiry and constitutional interpretation.

Heinrich Rommen (1897–1967) taught in Germany and England before concluding his distinguished scholarly career at Georgetown University.

Russell Hittinger is William K. Warren Professor of Catholic Studies and Research Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa.

Natural Rights on the Threshold of the Scottish Enlightenment Cover

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Natural Rights on the Threshold of the Scottish Enlightenment

Gershom Carmichael

An important figure in the natural law tradition and in the Scottish Enlightenment, Gershom Carmichael defended a strong theory of rights and drew attention to Grotius, Pufendorf, and Locke.Gershom Carmichael was a teacher and writer who played an important role in the Scottish Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. His philosophy focused on the natural rights of individuals—the natural right to defend oneself, to own the property on which one has labored, and to services contracted for with others. Carmichael argued that slavery is incompatible with the rights of men and citizens, and he believed that subjects have the right to resist rulers who exceed the limits of their powers.Although he appealed to the authority of Grotius and Locke, the grounds on which he defended natural rights were distinctively his own. He drew upon the Reformed or Presbyterian theology to propose that, in respecting the natural rights of individuals, one shows one’s reverence for God’s creation. Inasmuch as all of mankind longs for lasting happiness, which can be found only in worship of or reverence for God, such reverence is the natural law which obliges all to respect the rights of all.Natural Rights includes Supplements and Observations on Pufendorf (1724), Natural Theology (1729), Logic (1722), two theses, and a manuscript on teaching, all in English for the first time.Gershom Carmichael (1672–1729) was the first professor of moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow, preceding Hutcheson, Smith, and Reid. James Moore is Professor of Political Science at Concordia University in Montreal.Michael Silverthorne is Honorary University Fellow in the School of Classics at the University of Exeter.Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

Observations on

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Observations on "The Two Sons of Oil"

Containing a Vindication of the American Constitutions, and Defending the Blessings of Religious Liberty and Toleration, against the Illiberal Strictures of the Rev. Samuel B. Wylie

William Findley

William Findley was an important, if lesser-known, politician during the early national period of American history. He was a captain in the Revolutionary army, an Anti-Federalist, and a forty-year veteran politician of both state and national office. In the Pennsylvania ratifying convention he had vigorously opposed the approval of the proposed Constitution because he felt that it did not guarantee the protection of some basic liberties such as jury trial; religious freedom; and freedom of speech, assembly, press, etc. After the Bill of Rights was adopted, Findley became a strong supporter of the Constitution.

Observations on “The Two Sons of Oil” was written in 1811 in response to the Reverend Samuel B. Wylie’s work, The Two Sons of Oil, which was published in 1803. In this work of radical Presbyterian theology, Wylie pointed out what he considered to be deficiencies in the constitutions of both Pennsylvania and the United States and declared them to be immoral.

Findley’s response to Wylie’s criticisms in Observations showed that it was neither the purpose nor the design of the United States government to have a federal religion and a federal creed. In a broader sense the book is also a passionate defense of a civil government guided by moral principles that allow for essential freedoms. Findley’s defense of religious liberty and the American constitutions affords a grand window through which to view early American understanding about the relationship between politics and faith and why it is essential for both liberty and piety to resist any attempt to unite government and Church.

This new Liberty Fund edition will make this work available once again; Observations on “The Two Sons of Oil” has not been republished since its original publication in 1812. Scholars of American history, government, and religion will appreciate the new availability of this book, which provides critical insight into Americans’ conception of liberty in the nation’s formative years. In addition, readers concerned with renewed debates around the world on the separation of church and state will appreciate the timelessness of Findley’s arguments for secular government and its compatibility with religious beliefs.

William Findley was born in Ireland and emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1763. He served in the Second through the Fifth Congresses, and again in the Eighth through the Fourteenth Congresses, earning the designation “Father of the House” before he retired from Congress in 1817. He died in 1821.

John Caldwell is retired from Augustana College, where he was Director of the Library and Professor of History. Himself a native of western Pennsylvania, Professor Caldwell is the author of George R. Stewart (1981) and William Findley from West of the Mountains: A Politician in Pennsylvania, 1783–1791 (2000).

Observations upon Liberal Education Cover

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Observations upon Liberal Education

George Turnbull

Originally published in 1742 and presented here in its first modern edition, Observations upon Liberal Education is a significant contribution to the Scottish Enlightenment and the moral-sense school of Scottish philosophy. George Turnbull embodied these movements of ideas as much as his more famous contemporary Francis Hutcheson.

In Observations, Turnbull applied these ideas to the education of youth. He showed how a liberal education fosters true “inward liberty” and moral strength and thus prepares for responsible and happy lives in a free society. He drew upon an impressive number of authors, both ancient and modern, including John Locke. Indeed, there is probably no richer treasure trove of sources for the educational debates of the eighteenth century.

Terrence Moore, who wrote the introduction, notes that “Observations upon Liberal Education provides an extensive and illuminating treatment of education, sensitive to the means of inculcating the personal responsibility necessary for living in a free society.”

Turnbull was the mentor of Thomas Reid, but his influence was not confined to Scotland. Benjamin Franklin, in drafting his Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, drew generously from Observations.

George Turnbull (1698–1748) belongs to the founding figures in the Scottish Enlightenment. Finding their native Calvinism repressive, they sought a rational religion closely associated with their new science of human nature, supportive of tolerance, and compatible with classical ideals.

Terrence O. Moore, Jr., is Principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion in Reference to Civil Society Cover

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Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion in Reference to Civil Society

Samuel Pufendorf

Samuel Pufendorf’s Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion (published in Latin in 1687) is a major work on the separation of politics and religion. Written in response to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by the French king Louis XIV, Pufendorf contests the right of the sovereign to control the religion of his subjects, because state and religion pursue wholly different ends. He concludes that, when rulers transgress their bounds, subjects have a right to defend their religion, even by the force of arms.

Pufendorf’s opposition to the French king does not demonstrate political radicalism. Instead, like John Locke and others who defended the concept of toleration, Pufendorf advocates a principled, moderate defense of toleration rather than unlimited religious liberty.

Appearing at the dawn of the Enlightenment, Pufendorf’s ideas on natural law and toleration were highly influential in both Europe and the British Isles. As Simone Zurbuchen explains in the introduction, Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion is a major contribution to the history and literature of religious toleration.

Samuel Pufendorf (1632–1694) was one of the most important figures in early-modern political thought. An exact contemporary of Locke and Spinoza, he transformed the natural law theories of Grotius and Hobbes, developed striking ideas of toleration and of the relationship between church and state, and wrote extensive political histories and analyses of the constitution of the German empire.

Jodocus Crull (d. 1713/14) was a German émigré to England, a medical man, and a translator and writer.

Simone Zurbuchen is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

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Omnipotent Government

The Rise of the Total State and Total War

Ludwig von Mises

Published in 1944, during World War II, Omnipotent Government was Mises's first book written and published after he arrived in the United States. In this volume Mises provides in economic terms an explanation of the international conflicts that caused both world wars. Although written more than half a century ago, Mises's main theme still stands:  government interference in the economy leads to conflicts and wars. According to Mises, the last and best hope for peace is liberalism—the philosophy of liberty, free markets, limited government, and democracy.Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) was the leading spokesman of the Austrian School of economics throughout most of the twentieth century. He earned his doctorate in law and economics from the University of Vienna in 1906. In 1926, Mises founded the Austrian Institute for Business Cycle Research. From 1909 to 1934, he was an economist for the Vienna Chamber of Commerce. Before the Anschluss, in 1934 Mises left for Geneva, where he was a professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies until 1940, when he emigrated to New York City. From 1948 to 1969, he was a visiting professor at New York University.Bettina Bien Greaves is a former resident scholar, trustee, and longtime staff member of the Foundation for Economic Education. She has written and lectured extensively on topics of free market economics. Her articles have appeared in such journals as Human Events, Reason, and The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty. A student of Mises, Greaves has become an expert on his work in particular and that of the Austrian School of economics in general. She has translated several Mises monographs, compiled an annotated bibliography of his work, and edited collections of papers by Mises and other members of the Austrian School.

On Temporal and Spiritual Authority Cover

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On Temporal and Spiritual Authority

Robert Bellarmine

Robert Bellarmine was one of the most original and influential political theorists of his time. He participated in several of the political debates that agitated early modern Europe, such as the controversy over the Oath of Allegiance in England. Bellarmine presents one of the clearest and most coherent definitions of the nature and aim of temporal authority and its relationship to spiritual authority. The king has jurisdiction over the body, the pope over the conscience. This distinction was crucial for the history of early modern monarchies: the conflict between state and church ceased to be concerned with physical persons and was no longer a contest for the consciences of subjects.The political thought of Bellarmine was at the center of post-Reformation debates on the relationship between state and church; on the nature, aim, and limits of temporal government; and on the relation between religion and natural law. He posed in a novel, controversial manner the relationship between public and private spheres, thus opening up questions central to what we consider “modernity.” This accessible edition of some of Bellarmine’s most important works in fresh translations will be interesting for a wide readership of both scholars of political thought and the educated general public. Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621) was a Jesuit cardinal and a celebrated professor of theology at the Roman College, of which he became rector in 1592. He was also a highly ranked member of the Inquisition and of the Congregation of the Index, as well as Pope Clement VIII’s main advisor in theological matters. However, Bellarmine’s work risked being included in the Index of Prohibited Books for insufficient support of papal authority. At the same time, he was considered a major enemy of the absolute authority of sovereigns, such as James I of England. Stefania Tutino is an Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara.Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

On the Manipulation of Money and Credit Cover

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On the Manipulation of Money and Credit

Three Treatises on Trade-Cycle Theory

Ludwig von Mises

The Origin and Principles of the American Revolution, Compared with the Origin and Principles of the French Revolution Cover

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The Origin and Principles of the American Revolution, Compared with the Origin and Principles of the French Revolution

Friedrich Gentz

The Origin and Principles of the American Revolution is perhaps one of the most important books written on the American Revolution by a European author. It is an original study of the subject by a conservative, objective German observer who acknowledges the legitimacy of the American Revolution, but also asserts at the same time that it was not a revolution but a legitimate transition.In this modern edition by Liberty Fund, Gentz makes a convincing and eloquent case in presenting—and defending— the American Revolution as an event of moderation founded on custom and prescriptive rights. Gentz further defends the colonists by stating they were acting as preservationists of their existing rights. Gentz believed the American Revolution should be understood not as a revolution, but as a secession.The Liberty Fund edition is supplemented by a new introduction and annotations that provide the reader with historical and contextual background to better create a more robust picture of Friedrich Gentz's thought.Friedrich Gentz (1764-1832) was a conservative German political writer and theorist.John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) was the sixth President of the United States.Peter Koslowski isProfessor of Philosophy at VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands, where he has taught since 2004. He was Founding Director of the Hanover Institute of Philosophical Research, Hanover, Germany, from 1988 to 2001 and Visiting Scholar-in-Residence with Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, Indiana, from 2002 to 2003. His books include Principles of Ethical Economy (2002) and The Ethics of Banking. Conclusions from the Financial Crisis (German edition 2009, English edition forthcoming in 2010).

The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks Cover

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The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks

John Millar

The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks is one of the major products of the Scottish Enlightenment and a masterpiece of jurisprudence and social theory. Building on David Hume, Adam Smith, and their respective natural histories of man, John Millar developed a progressive account of the nature of authority in society by analyzing changes in subsistence, agriculture, arts, and manufacture. The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks is perhaps the most precise and compact development of the abiding themes of the liberal wing of the Scottish Enlightenment.

Drawing on Smith’s four-stages theory of history and the natural law’s traditional division of domestic duties into those toward servants, children, and women, Millar provides a rich historical analysis of the ways in which progressive economic change transforms the nature of authority. In particular, he argues that, with the progress of arts and manufacture, authority tends to become less violent and concentrated, and ranks tend to diversify. Millar’s analysis of this historical progress is nuanced and sophisticated; for example, his discussion of servants is perhaps the best developed of the “economic” arguments against slavery.

John Millar (1735–1801) explored, through his works, the nature of English governance through a prism of the natural law tradition and Scottish philosophical history. Millar was a student of Adam Smith’s at Glasgow University and his most important immediate intellectual heir. His works provide an essential linkage to Smith.

Aaron Garrett is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Boston University.

Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

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