The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks
Издател : Liberty Fund, Inc.
Място на издаване : Indianapolis, USA
Година на издаване : 2006
ISBN : 978-0-86597-476-0
Брой страници : 316
Език : английски
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"The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks" is one of the major products of the Scottish Enlightenment and a masterpiece of jurisprudence and social theory. Building on David Hume, Adam Smith, and their respective natural histories of man, John Millar developed a progressive account of the nature of authority in society by analyzing changes in subsistence, agriculture, arts, and manufacture. The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks is perhaps the most precise and compact development of the abiding themes of the liberal wing of the Scottish Enlightenment.
Drawing on Smith’s four-stages theory of history and the natural law’s traditional division of domestic duties into those toward servants, children, and women, Millar provides a rich historical analysis of the ways in which progressive economic change transforms the nature of authority. In particular, he argues that, with the progress of arts and manufacture, authority tends to become less violent and concentrated, and ranks tend to diversify. Millar’s analysis of this historical progress is nuanced and sophisticated; for example, his discussion of servants is perhaps the best developed of the “economic” arguments against slavery.
"Causes of the freedom acquired by the labouring people in the modern nations of Europe.
By what happy concurrence of events has the practice of slavery been so generally abolished in Europe? By what powerful motives were our forefathers induced to deviate from the maxims of other nations, and to abandon a custom so generally retained in other parts of the world?
The northern barbarians, who laid the foundation of the present European states, are said to have possessed a number of slaves, obtained either by captivity or by voluntary submission, and over whom the master enjoyed an unlimited authority.
When these nations invaded the Roman empire, and settled in the different provinces, they were enabled by their repeated victories to procure an immense number of captives, whom they reduced into servitude, and by whose assistance they occupied landed estates of proportionable extent. From the simple manner of living to which those barbarians had been accustomed, their domestic business was usually performed by the members of each family; and their servants, for the most part, were employed in cultivating their lands."