Edward Gibbon on Liberty, Virtue, Despotism, and the Decline of Nations


This colloquium addressed one of the main questions coming out of Gibbon's Decline and Fall: How did the greatest empire in the history of Western civilization decline and collapse? In searching for an answer, Gibbon pointed to several causes, among which were the loss of liberty, the rise of various forms of despotism, and the decline of martial and political virtue. This conference repeated an earlier one, but with greater attention to the themes of religion and Christianity.


From Liberty Fund

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (vol. 1)

by By Adam Smith
Edited by R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner
William B. Todd, Textual Editor

First published in 1776, the year in which the American Revolution officially began, Smith’s Wealth of Nations sparked a revolution of its own. In it Smith analyzes the major elements of political economy, from market pricing and the division of labor to monetary, tax, trade, and other government policies that…

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