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
- Title page
- Section page
- 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)