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Adam Smith, Radical and EgalitarianAn Interpretation for the 21st Century$
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Iain McLean

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748623525

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623525.001.0001

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A Weak State and a Weak Church

A Weak State and a Weak Church

Chapter:
(p.27) 2 A Weak State and a Weak Church
Source:
Adam Smith, Radical and Egalitarian
Author(s):

Iain McLean

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623525.003.0002

This chapter discusses the weak church and the weak state which alone made it possible for Adam Smith's thought to emerge at all, but which set him a range of intellectual problems to solve in his two books. The main concession demanded by the Scots related to the protection of the national church. There were two main strands of Presbyterianism in Smith's Scotland. The war of the loose and the austere raged for the whole of Smith's lifetime. The weakness of church and state gave Smith and David Hume the space in which they could write and publish freely. It then describes Smith's assessment of the Scottish church as an agency of social improvement. Adam Smith strongly influenced Robert Burns on writing his poems. Burns played a large role in creating a mythic Scottish history in which the good guys were constantly betrayed by the bad guys.

Keywords:   weak state, weak church, Adam Smith, Scottish church, Presbyterianism, Scotland, Robert Burns, David Hume

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