An Essay on the History of Civil Society.

Edinburgh, 1767.

Large 4to. Recased preserving the contemporary marbled leather boards with a gilt line-frame over a more recent light brown full calf binding with five raised bands and gilt ornamentations to spine. The contemporary gilt title-label also preserved in second compartment of the spine. A later leather-onlay to the lower compartment, presumably covering an earlier library-marking. All edges of boards gilt. Inner hinges re-enforced. A good, solid, and sturdy copy. Library stamp (Freie Universität Berlin) to verso of title-page, along with a deaccession-stamp, as well as to blank lower margin of p. 48. Apart from the stamps, internally extremely well preserved, clean, and fresh, with only light occasional brownspotting. A very wide-margined copy on good paper. Leaves measuring 27x21 cm. VII, (1), 430 pp. 

The uncommon first edition of this pioneering classic of the Enlightenment, a magnum opus in the history of political thought.

The Essay became extremely influential and established Ferguson’s reputation in Britain and the rest of Europe. The work was also taught at the University of Moscow, causing Voltaire to praise Ferguson for “civilizing the Russians”. Marx was also directly influenced by the work, as were numerous of the great political and sociological theoreticians.

“Adam Ferguson's Essay on the History of Civil Society (first published in 1767) is a classic of the Scottish - and European - Enlightenment. Drawing on such diverse sources as classical authors and contemporary travel literature, Ferguson offers a complex model of historical advance which challenges both Hume's and Smith's embrace of modernity and the primitivism of Rousseau. Ferguson combines a subtle analysis of the emergence of modern commercial society with a critique of its abandonment of civic and communal virtues. Central to Ferguson's theory of citizenship are the themes of conflict, play, political participation and military valour. The Essay is a bold and novel attempt to reclaim the tradition of active, virtuous citizenship and apply it to the modern state.” (Cambridge University Press).

”A pioneering work of the Scottish Enlightenment in the field of “philosophical history”, or what we would today call sociology. It deals with the social, political, economic, intellectual, and legal changes which accompanied societies as they made the transition to modern commercial and manufacturing society.” (OLL – Online Library of Liberty)

Order-nr.: 61031

DKK 55.000,00