History

About this Collection

Whether it is David Hume’s eighteenth-century account of English history stretching from Julius Caesar to the Glorious Revolution or Edmund Burke’s analysis of the American and French Revolutions as he watched them unfold, our history collection reflects on the events of history and the ways we discuss those events over time.

Key People

Titles & Essays

A – Z List

America

Loading...

American Literature

Loading...

Auxiliary Sciences Of History

Loading...

Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources (General)

Loading...

Christianity

Loading...

Collections

Loading...

Collections. Series. Collected Works

Loading...

Commerce

Loading...

Communities. Classes. Races

Loading...

Economic History And Conditions

Loading...

Economic Theory. Demography

Loading...

English Literature

Loading...

Ethics

Loading...

Finance

Loading...

France Andorra Monaco

Loading...

French Literature

Loading...

General Law And Jurisprudence

Loading...

General Works

Loading...

Geography And Anthropology

Loading...

German Literature

Loading...

Great Britain

Loading...

Greco Roman World

Loading...

Greek And Latin Literature

Loading...

History Of Law (Ancient Orient)

Loading...

History Of Scholarship And Learning. The Humanities

Loading...

History Of The Americas

Loading...

Italy Malta

Loading...

Language And Literature

Loading...

Law

Loading...

Local History Of The Americas

Loading...

Military Science (General)

Loading...

Philosophy, Psychology, And Religion

Loading...

Political Institutions And Public Administration (Europe)

Loading...

Political Institutions And Public Administration (United States)

Loading...

Political Science

Loading...

Political Science (General)

Loading...

Political Theory

Loading...

Religions. Mythology. Rationalism

Loading...

Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics.

Loading...

Social History And Conditions. Social Problems. Social Reform

Loading...

Social Pathology. Social And Public Welfare. Criminology

Loading...

Social Sciences

Loading...

Speculative Philosophy

Loading...

United Kingdom And Ireland

Loading...

United States

Loading...

United States

Loading...

Visual Arts

Loading...

World History

Loading...

Not Categorized

Acton-Creighton Correspondence

John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton (author)

In one of these 3 letters to Archbishop Creighton Lord Acton makes his famous statement about “power corrupts and absolute power absolutely”. He also makes other remarks about the proper role for moral judgments in history.

The American Nation: Primary Sources

Bruce Frohnen (editor)

This volume is a continuation of Frohnen’s earlier collection of primary sources The American Republic. It contains material from the Civil War to the outbreak of World War Two in the Pacific.

L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution (7th ed. 1866)

Alexis de Tocqueville (author)

Tocqueville’s last major work which he left unfinished on the continuities between the old regime and the French Revolution.

Anti-Slavery Tracts. First Series, Nos. 1-20 (1855-56)

David M. Hart (editor)

The first of two collections of anti-slavery tracts published by the American Anti-Slavery Society between 1855-56. It consists of 20 pamphlets written by Higginson, Foster, Burleigh, Beecher Stowe, and others. A second collection of…

Anti-Slavery Tracts. Second Series, nos. 1-25 (1860-62)

David M. Hart (editor)

The second of two collections of anti-slavery tracts published by the American Anti-Slavery Society between 1860-62. It consists of 25 pamphlets written by William Lloyd Garrison, Daniel O'Connell, Maria Child, Wendell Phillips, and…

The Best of Bastiat 1.1: A Life in Letters

Frédéric Bastiat (author)

The Best of Bastiat (BOB) is a collection of some of the best material in Liberty Fund’s 6 volume edition of The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat (2011-). They are chapter length extracts and have been edited as pamphlets for…

The Best of Bastiat 1.2: Bastiat the Revolutionary Part 1

Frédéric Bastiat (author)

The Best of Bastiat (BOB) is a collection of some of the best material in Liberty Fund’s 6 volume edition of The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat (2011-). They are chapter length extracts and have been edited as pamphlets for…

The Best of Bastiat1.3: Bastiat the Revolutionary Part 2

Frédéric Bastiat (author)

The Best of Bastiat (BOB) is a collection of some of the best material in Liberty Fund’s 6 volume edition of The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat (2011-). They are chapter length extracts and have been edited as pamphlets for…

THE READING ROOM

BOLL 11: W.G. Sumner, “The Conquest of the United States by Spain” (1898)

This is part of “The Best of the Online Library of Liberty” which is a collection of some of the most important material in the OLL. This one comes from a lecture given by William Graham Sumner, “The Conquest of the United States by…
Catalogue of the Guillaumin Librairie (1847)

Gilbert-Urbain Guillaumin (editor)

This catalogue is 16 pages long and contains an announcement of the massive Collection des Principaux Économistes which was a multi-volume collection of the classic works of political economy, Bastiat’s Sophismes économiques and

Ce qu'on appelle des idées nouvelles en 1848

Amédée de Noé (author)

A panel of six anti-socialist cartoons which ridicules the ideas of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Pierre Leroux, Étienne Cabet, Victor Considerant, Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, and Louis Napoléon Bonaparte.

Des circonstances actuelles qui peuvent terminer la Révolution et des principes qui doivent fonder la république en France

Germaine de Staël (author)

In this posthumously published work, the French classical liberal Germain Necker (de Staël), provides the most coherent account of her thoughts on constitutional government, property rights, public opinion, and representative…

THE READING ROOM

Grover Cleveland

By: Paul A. Cleveland

Grover Cleveland was born in New Jersey. Early in his life his family moved to New York. The death of his father prevented him from going to college after completing his primary education.
David M. Hart, “Classical Liberalism and the Problem of Class” (Nov. 2016)

David M. Hart (author)

This online discussion is part of the series “Liberty Matters: A Forum for the Discussion of Matters pertaining to Liberty.”

Liberty Matters: Deirdre McCloskey and Economists’ Ideas about Ideas (July, 2014)

Donald J. Boudreaux (author)

The key issue of this Liberty Matters discussion is to try to explain why “the Great Enrichment” of the past 150 years occurred when and where it did. McCloskey argues that a fundamental change in ideas took place which raised the “…

Liberty Matters: On the Spread of Classical Liberal Ideas (March, 2015)

David M. Hart (author)

In this discussion David Hart surveys the field of ideological movements and present a theory of ideological production and distribution based upon Austrian capital theory as it might be applied to the production of ideas.

Raico on Benjamin Constant

Related Links:

Ralph Raico Benjamin Constant

Source: New Individualist Review, editor-in-chief Ralph Raico, introduction by Milton Friedman (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981). Chapter: RALPH RAICO, GREAT INDIVIDUALISTS OF THE…

Selected Writings of Ludwig von Mises, 3 vols

Ludwig von Mises (author)

A three volume collection of Mises’s writings from the so-called “lost papers” found in a Moscow archive in 1996. These were seized by the Gestapo and then taken back to Russia after the war by the Russian government.

LIBERTY MATTERS

Suffrage and States’ Rights: How Federalism Defeated Reconstruction’s Constitutional Revolution

Nicole Etcheson (contributor)

Read Jeffrey Hummel's Essay

Read Vernon Burton's Essay

LIBERTY MATTERS

Quotes

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Adam Ferguson notes that “implicit submission to any leader, or the uncontrouled exercise of any power” leads to a form of military government and ultimately despotism (1767)

Adam Ferguson

Economics

Adam Ferguson observed that social structures of all kinds were “the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design” (1782)

Adam Ferguson

Politics & Liberty

Adam Ferguson on Factional Quarrels

Adam Ferguson

Philosophy

Adam Ferguson on Love, Self-Interest, and Pleasure

Adam Ferguson

Taxation

Alexander Hamilton denounces the British for imposing “oppressive taxes” on the colonists which amount to tyranny, a form of slavery, and vassalage to the Empire (1774)

Alexander Hamilton

Class

Alexander Hamilton on the Civil Balance of Power

Alexander Hamilton

Politics & Liberty

Andrew Fletcher believed that too many people were deceived by the “ancient terms and outwards forms” of their government but had in fact lost their ancient liberties (1698)

Andrew Fletcher

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition

Benjamin Franklin and the Need for Unity among the Colonies

Benjamin Franklin

Food & Drink

Benjamin Franklin on killing and cooking a turkey with electricity (1748)

Benjamin Franklin

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition

Benjamin Franklin on making the transition from slavery to civil liberty (1789)

Benjamin Franklin

The State

Benjamin Franklin on the “superstructure” of Good Government (1736)

Benjamin Franklin

Revolution

Benjamin Franklin on the trade off between essential liberty and temporary safety (1775)

Benjamin Franklin

Society

Benjamin Franklin’s List of Virtues for “Clean” Living

Benjamin Franklin

War & Peace

Cobden argues that the British Empire will inevitably suffer retribution for its violence and injustice (1853)

Richard Cobden

War & Peace

Cobden on the complicity of the British people in supporting war (1852)

Richard Cobden

Free Trade

Cobden on the folly of using government force to “protect commerce” (1836)

Richard Cobden

War & Peace

Daniel Webster thunders that the introduction of conscription would be a violation of the constitution, an affront to individual liberty, and an act of unrivaled despotism (1814)

Daniel Webster

Origin of Government

David Hume argued that Individual Liberty emerged slowly out of the “violent system of government” which had earlier prevailed in Europe (1778)

David Hume

Liberty

Edmund Burke on liberty as “social” not “individual” liberty (1789)

Edmund Burke

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Edward Gibbon believed that unless public liberty was defended by “intrepid and vigilant guardians” any constitution would degenerate into despotism (1776)

Edward Gibbon

Politics & Liberty

Edward Gibbon called the loss of independence and excessive obedience the "secret poison" which corrupted the Roman Empire (1776)

Edward Gibbon

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Edward Gibbon gloomily observed that in a unified empire like the Roman there was nowhere to escape, whereas with a multiplicity of states there were always gaps and interstices to hide in (1776)

Edward Gibbon

Odds & Ends

Edward Gibbon reveals the reasons why he wrote on the Decline of the Roman Empire, “the greatest, perhaps, and most awful scene in the history of mankind” (1776)

Edward Gibbon

Politics & Liberty

Ferguson on the flourishing of man’s intellectual powers in a commercial society (1767)

Adam Ferguson

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition

Frederick Douglass and his Desire to be Free

Frederick Douglass

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition

Frederick Douglass makes a New Year’s resolution to gain his freedom from slavery (1836)

Frederick Douglass

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition

Frederick Douglass on Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation

Frederick Douglass

Quote

Frederick Douglass on Religion and Slavery

Frederick Douglass

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition

Frederick Douglass on the Ballot Box, the Jury Box, and the Cartridge Box

Frederick Douglass

Women’s Rights

Frederick Douglass on Women’s Right to Vote

Frederick Douglass

Politics & Liberty

Georg Jellinek argues that Lafayette was one of the driving forces behind the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789)

Georg Jellinek

Politics & Liberty

George Washington on the Difference between Commercial and Political Relations with other Countries (1796)

George Washington

Taxation

George Washington on the Whiskey Rebellion and the Pardon Power

George Washington

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

George Washington warns that the knee jerk reaction of citizens to problems is to seek a solution in the creation of a “new monarch”(1786)

George Washington

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

George Washington warns the nation in his Farewell Address, that love of power will tend to create a real despotism in America unless proper checks and balances are maintained to limit government power (1796)

George Washington

Politics & Liberty

Germaine de Staël on the indestructible love of liberty (1818)

Germaine de Staël

Politics & Liberty

Gouverneur Morris on the proper balance between commerce, private property, and political liberty (1776)

Gouverneur Morris

Liberty

Guizot on how intellectual and political diversity and competition created a unique European civilization (1828)

François Guizot

Politics & Liberty

Guizot on liberty and reason (1851)

François Guizot

Liberty

Guizot on man’s unquenchable desire for liberty and free political institutions (1820-22)

François Guizot

The State

Guizot on the legitimacy of state power and its limits (1851)

François Guizot

Literature & Music

Gustave de Beaumont and Irish liberty (1839)

Gustave de Beaumont

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition

Harriet Martineau on the institution of slavery, “restless slaves”, and the Bill of Rights (1838)

Harriet Martineau

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Henry Parker on Parliament’s role in limiting the power of Kings (1642)

Henry Parker

The State

Hippolyte Taine on how the modern bureaucratic state destroys spontaneous and fruitful private cooperation (1890)

Hippolyte Taine

Law

James Mackintosh on how constitutions grow and are not made (1799)

Sir James Mackintosh

Justice

James Mackintosh on the relationship between justice and utility (1791)

Sir James Mackintosh

War & Peace

James Madison argues that the Constitution places war-making powers squarely with the legislative branch; for the president to have these powers is the “the true nurse of executive aggrandizement” (1793)

James Madison

Class

James Madison on the “sagacious and monied few” who are able to “harvest” the benefits of government regulations (1787)

James Madison

Parties & Elections

James Madison on the dangers of elections resulting in overbearing majorities who respect neither justice nor individual rights, Federalist 10 (1788)

James Madison

Politics & Liberty

James Madison on the mischievous effects of mutable government in The Federalist no. 62 (1788)

James Madison

War & Peace

James Madison on the necessity of separating the power of “the sword from the purse” (1793)

James Madison

Politics & Liberty

James Madison on the need for the “separation of powers” because “men are not angels,” Federalist 51 (1788)

James Madison

War & Peace

James Madison on the need for the people to declare war and for each generation, not future generations, to bear the costs of the wars they fight (1792)

James Madison

Origin of Government

James Otis on the right of the people to alter their government (1764)

James Otis

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Jefferson feared that it would only be a matter of time before the American system of government degenerated into a form of “elective despotism” (1785)

Thomas Jefferson

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Jefferson on how Congress misuses the inter-state commerce and general welfare clauses to promote the centralization of power (1825)

Thomas Jefferson

Taxation

Jefferson on Taxes and the General Welfare (1791)

Thomas Jefferson

Politics & Liberty

Jefferson on the right to change one’s government (1776)

Thomas Jefferson

Taxation

Jefferson tells Congress that since tax revenues are increasing faster than population then taxes on all manner of items can be “dispensed with” (i.e. abolished) (1801)

Thomas Jefferson

Revolution

Jefferson warns about the rise of an “Anglo-Monarchio-Aristocratic party” in America (1797)

Thomas Jefferson

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Jefferson’s list of objections to the British Empire in his first draft of the Declaration of Independence (1776)

Thomas Jefferson

Freedom of Speech

Jefferson’s preference for “newspapers without government” over “government without newspapers” (1787)

Thomas Jefferson

Law

John Adams argues that the British Empire is not a “true” empire but a form of a “republic” where the rule of law operates (1763)

John Adams

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

John Adams on how absolute power intoxicates those who excercise that power (1814)

John Adams

The State

John Adams on Religion and the Constitution

John Adams

Law

John Adams predicts a glorious future for America under the new Constitution and is in “reverence and awe” at its future prospects (1787)

John Adams

Politics & Liberty

John Adams thought he could see arbitrary power emerging in the American colonies and urged his countrymen to “nip it in the bud” before they lost all their liberties (1774)

John Adams

Class

John C. Calhoun notes that taxation divides the community into two great antagonistic classes, those who pay the taxes and those who benefit from them (1850)

John C. Calhoun

Politics & Liberty

John Calhoun and the Unchecked Majority

John C. Calhoun

Politics & Liberty

John Calhoun on Concurrent Majorities

John C. Calhoun

Politics & Liberty

John Calhoun on Executive Power and Constitutional Order

John C. Calhoun

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition

John Calhoun on Slavery as a Positive Good

John C. Calhoun

Politics & Liberty

John Calhoun on the Nature and Purpose of Constitutions

John C. Calhoun

The State

John Calhoun on Unchecked Majorities

John C. Calhoun

War & Peace

John Jay in The Federalist Papers discussed why nations go to war and concluded that it was not for justice but “whenever they have a prospect of getting any thing by it” (1787)

John Jay

War & Peace

John Jay on the pretended as well as the just causes of war (1787)

John Jay

Natural Rights

John Lilburne on one’s duty to respect “the Right, Due, and Propriety of all the Sons of Adam, as men” (1646)

John Lilburne

Rhetoric of Liberty

John Lilburne rails against his unjust imprisonment (1646)

John Lilburne

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

John Lilburne shows defiance to the tyrants who would force him to pay tythes to the Church (1648)

John Lilburne

Rhetoric of Liberty

John Thelwall on political sheep shearing (1795)

John Thelwall

Politics & Liberty

Leggett on the tendency of the government to become “the universal dispenser of good and evil” (1834)

William Leggett

Liberty

Liberty in the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789)

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Livy on the irrecoverable loss of liberty under the Roman Empire (10 AD)

Titus Livius (Livy)

Religion & Toleration

Lord Acton argues that civil liberty arose out of the conflict between the power of the Church and the Monarchy (1877)

John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton

Politics & Liberty

Lord Acton on the destruction of the liberal Girondin group and the suicide of Condorcet during the French Revolution (1910)

John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton

Revolution

Lord Acton on the storming of “the instrument and the emblem of tyranny” in Paris, the Bastille, on July 14, 1789 (1910)

John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Lord Acton writes to Bishop Creighton that the same moral standards should be applied to all men, political and religious leaders included, especially since “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (1887)

John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton

Sport and Liberty

Macaulay and Bunyan on the evils of swearing and playing hockey on Sunday (1830)

Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay

The State

Macaulay argues that “the main end” of government is the protection of persons and property (1839)

Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Macaulay argues that politicians are less interested in the economic value of public works to the citizens than they are in their own reputation, embezzlement and"jobs for the boys" (1830)

Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay

Rhetoric of Liberty

Macaulay wittily denounces a tyrannical priest as being an intermediate grub between sycophant and oppressor (1837)

Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Madame de Staël argues that Napoleon was able to create a tyrannical government by pandering to men’s interests, corrupting public opinion, and waging constant war (1817)

Germaine de Staël

Liberty

Madame de Staël on how liberty is ancient and despotism is modern (1818)

Germaine de Staël

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Madame de Staël on the tyrant Napoleon (1818)

Germaine de Staël

War & Peace

Madison argued that war is the major way by which the executive office increases its power, patronage, and taxing power (1793)

James Madison

Liberty

Madison on “Parchment Barriers” and the defence of liberty I (1788)

James Madison

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Madison on “Parchment Barriers” and the defence of liberty II (1788)

James Madison

Politics & Liberty

Mercy Otis Warren asks why people are so willing to obey the government and answers that it is supineness, fear of resisting, and the long habit of obedience (1805)

Mercy Otis Warren

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Michel Chevalier on two kinds of political power in America, the Caesars and the Commissioners (1835)

Michel Chevalier

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Pufendorf on the danger of rulers confusing their own self-interest with that of the State (1695)

Samuel von Pufendorf

Liberty

Richard Overton argues that to submit to the unjust rule by another is to violate one’s right of self ownership (1646)

Richard Overton

Natural Rights

Richard Overton shoots “An Arrow against all Tyrants” from the prison of Newgate into the prerogative bowels of the arbitrary House of Lords and all other usurpers and tyrants whatsoever (1646)

Richard Overton

Liberty

Richard Price on giving thanks for the principles of the Revolution of 1688 (1789)

Richard Price

War & Peace

Richard Price on how the “domestic enemies” of liberty have been more powerful and more successful than foreign enemies (1789)

Richard Price

Politics & Liberty

Richard Price on the true Nature of Love of One’s Country (1789)

Richard Price

Economics

Robert Molesworth on the benefits of open borders and free immigration (1705)

Robert Molesworth

Law

Spooner states the importance of the 9th Amendment to the American Constitution which protects the natural rights of the people not enumerated in the first 8 Amendments (1886)

Lysander Spooner

Education

The ex-slave Frederick Douglass reveals that reading speeches by English politicians produced in him a deep love of liberty and hatred of oppression (1882)

Frederick Douglass

Literature & Music

Thierry on the need for songs about our lost liberties which will act as a barrier to encroaching power (1845)

Augustin Thierry

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition

Thomas Clarkson on the “glorious” victory of the abolition of the slave trade in England (1808)

Thomas Clarkson

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Thomas Gordon compares the Greatness of Spartacus with that of Julius Caesar (1721)

Thomas Gordon

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Thomas Gordon on how people are frightened into giving up their liberties (1722)

Thomas Gordon

Parties & Elections

Thomas Gordon on how the “Spirit of Party” substitutes party principles for moral principles, thus making it possible for the worst to get on top (1744)

Thomas Gordon

War & Peace

Thomas Gordon on standing armies as a power which is inconsistent with liberty (1722)

Thomas Gordon

The State

Thomas Gordon on the nature of power to expand (1721)

Thomas Gordon

Taxation

Thomas Jefferson boasts about having reduced the size of government and eliminated a number of “vexatious” taxes (1805)

Thomas Jefferson

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition

Thomas Jefferson’s First Draft of the Declaration of Independence denounced the slave trade as an “execrable Commerce” and slavery itself as a “cruel war against nature itself” (1776)

Thomas Jefferson

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Thucydides on political intrigue in the divided city of Corcyra caused by the “desire to rule” (5thC BC)

Thucydides

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition

Tocqueville on Centralised Government in Canada and Decentralised Government in America (1856)

Alexis de Tocqueville

Religion & Toleration

William Walwyn wittily argues against state enforced religious conformity (1646)

William Walwyn

Notes About This Collection

Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) Thomas Babbington Macaulay (1800-1859) Henry Sumner Maine (1822-1888)

See also the extracts, chapters, and introductions in the History section of the Ideas page.