Political Theory

Liberty, Commerce, and Happiness in Johnson and Hume


This conference explored the connection between liberty and happiness in David Hume and Samuel Johnson. Both shared what could be called a conservative disposition and were students of ancient philosophical schools with regard to happiness. In addition, both men inhabited and supported a society that enables the free exchange of ideas.


From Liberty Fund

Political Writings

by By Samuel Johnson
Edited by Donald J. Greene

The eighteenth century produced a remarkable array of thinkers whose influence in the development of free societies and free institutions is incalculable. Among these thinkers were Mandeville, Hutcheson, Smith, Hume, and Burke; their time is known as the Age of Johnson. Samuel Johnson: Political Writings contains twenty-four of Johnson’s essays…

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Additional Readings

Hume, David. Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary. Edited by Eugene F. Miller. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1985.

Johnson, Samuel. Selected Essays from the "Rambler", "Adventurer" and "Idler" (The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson). Edited by W. J. Bate. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1968.

Johnson, Samuel. The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia. Edited by Thomas Keymer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.