David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher noted for his skepticism.
But he also wrote a number of essays which had a significant influence on the
evolution of constitutional government. The following are from a collection,
Essays, Moral and Political, first published in 1748, and republished in
On the Liberty of the Press— It
performs an essential role in keeping government in check.
That politics may be reduced to a Science
— The form of government makes a difference. Good government is not just
about the goodness of rulers.
Of the First Principles of Government —
What it takes to have good government.
Of the Origin of Government — How
governments come into being and remain in power.
Of the Independency of Parliament — The
separation of powers preserves liberty.
Whether the British Government Inclines More to
Absolute Monarchy, or to a Republic — A balance of power preserves
Of Parties in General — How factions
arise and contend.
Of the Parties of Great Britain — The
factions and their causes.
Of Superstition and Enthusiasm— The
causes that give rise to factions.
Of the Dignity or Meanness of Human Nature
— The virtues and vices that affect law and government.
Of Civil Liberty — A certain amount is
needed for civic virtue and the well-being of the state.
Of the Original Contract — There must
be a balance between coercion and consent in actual societies and their
Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth — A
prototype constitution for a federal republic. It inspired the U.S.
Treatise of Human Nature (Books I and II 1739, Book III 1740)
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748, 1758)
An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751)
Political Discourses (1752)
The History of England, From the Invasion of Julius Caesar to The
Revolution in 1688 (Six volumes 1754-1762)
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (written 1750, published 1779)