Eighteenth Century Economics: Turgot, Beccaria and Smith and Their Contemporaries

By Peter Groenewegen | Go to book overview

1

Turgot, Beccaria and Smith1

Introduction

It is well known and documented (Winch, 1970; Schumpeter, 1959) that the third quarter of the eighteenth century marks perhaps the most important period in the history of economic thought, since it is at the end of this period that economics emerged as a separate and new science (cf. Shackle, 1967, p. 2). During the 1760s and 1770s political economy gradually distinguished and emancipated itself from its roots in moral and political philosophy, and from the fragmented economic literature produced in the previous two centuries by merchants and administrators, which constituted its foundations (Schumpeter, 1954, esp. ch. 1). This period, with one major exception (Cantillon, 1959) saw the publication of the first general treatises on the subject, and the construction of systems of classical political economy which emphasised the reproduction of annual wealth, capital accumulation, value, distribution and growth. Such systems concentrated considerably less on the earlier preoccupations of economic writers, that is, matters of trade, money, credit and public finance, the practical issues which had inspired the earlier pamphleteers. In addition, this period saw the publication of the first economic journals, the establishment of the first chairs in political economy at European universities, 2 and the gradual beginning of what can be described as an economics profession.

The reasons for the timing of this phenomenon in the history of political economy are substantially found in the developments in general intellectual thought which took place in the eighteenth century. As Leslie Stephen (1902) has convincingly demonstrated, the mid-eighteenth century marks the beginning of secular social science freed from the theological encumbrances which had hampered its development in earlier centuries. The great landmark of this liberation is Montesquieu’s l’Esprit des Lois published in 1748. This birth of a secular social science is confirmed in the blossoming of intellectual inquiry in fields such as history, sociology, politics, jurisprudence and political economy which flourished particularly in France and Scotland (the Enlightenment), but whose influence was spread over the whole civilised (European) world. The quality of this inquiry was enhanced by the growing acceptance of scientific method in the social sciences, pioneered at the end of the seventeenth century

-3-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Eighteenth Century Economics: Turgot, Beccaria and Smith and Their Contemporaries
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 424

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.