"Scientific Whigs"? Scottish historians on the French Revolution

Plassart, Anna (2013). "Scientific Whigs"? Scottish historians on the French Revolution. Journal of the History of Ideas, 74(1) pp. 93–114.


The Scottish reception of the French Revolution has usually been considered from the point of view of its influence on the so-called “Burke-Paine” debate. This article examines the impact of the French Revolution in Scotland from a different perspective, by focusing on the writings of the so-called “Scottish historians.” It examines the pre-1789 Scottish narratives of European constitutional history, and argues that the historical thought of Hume, Smith, Robertson, and Millar was misappropriated in the 1790s, as their writings were wrongly used to underpin a “social” interpretation of the fall of the French monarchy.

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