Political Economy

The strand on political economy focuses on Dugald Stewart (1753-1828).

A key figure in the transition from the Scottish Enlightenment to English Liberalism, Stewart is well-known for his Common Sense philosophy and his biographical work. During his professorship of moral philosophy at the University of Edinburgh (1785 to 1810), Stewart devoted an independent course to political economy. Because these innovative lectures were not published by himself, scholars have hitherto relied on the posthumously published edition by Sir William Hamilton and have primarily explored Stewart’s influence on his students.

The project analyses the extant notes that students took from the political economy lectures that Stewart delivered between 1799 and 1809 to provide a better understanding of the content and development of the course. It explores Stewart’s awareness of the economic, social, and economic problems Britain was facing and his proposed solution. By drawing on hitherto neglected sources, the strand on political economy sheds new insights into Scotland’s position within Europe after the end of Enlightenment.