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Adam Smith, following Montesquieu and Hume, sought to construct a science of politics that made us of a wide range of historical and comparative evidence. The purpose of such a science was to the quality of law and government by discovering the advantages and disadvantages of different systems of government. Smith, like Hume, believed that liberty for the individual in the context of the rule of law in this own time a recent achievement of European societies. The English constitution, since the Settlement of 1688, provided a machinery within which a degree of balance was preserved between the leading interests and orders of society. Smith thought, philosopher's should advise on how to improve such machinery so as to secure liberty and justice without relying on the limited virtue of politically powerful individuals.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Module code and title: A204, The Enlightenment
Item code: A204; 26
Recording date: 1979-08-24
First transmission date: 19-08-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OUDA web pages.
Duration: 00:17:03
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Producer: Tony Coe
Contributor: Donald Winch
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Science of politics; Systems of government; Wealth of Nations
Master spool number: TLN34950H938
Production number: TLN34950H938
Available to public: no