Ferguson’S Early Conflict Theory

Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives internationales d’histoire des idées book series (ARCH, volume 191)


Civic Virtue Human Affair Moral Personality Wealth Inequality Conflict Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 770.
    See, for example, Lehmann, Adam Ferguson, pp. 98–106; Barnes’ sociology Before Comte’, p. 235; Strasser, Normative Structure of Sociology, p. 52.Google Scholar
  2. 771.
    Lehmann, Adam Ferguson, pp. 189–90.Google Scholar
  3. 772.
    Forbes, ‘Introduction’ to Essay, p. xviii.Google Scholar
  4. 773.
    Kettler, The Social and Political Thought of Adam Ferguson, p. 45.Google Scholar
  5. 774.
    Bryson, Man and Society, p. 49.Google Scholar
  6. 775.
    Forbes, ‘Introduction’ to Essay, pp. xvii.Google Scholar
  7. 776.
    Essay, p. 24. These ‘circumstances’ are those that subsist in human nature, otherwise known as drives.Google Scholar
  8. 777.
    Essay, pp. 148–9.Google Scholar
  9. 778.
    Essay, p. 25.Google Scholar
  10. 779.
    Essay, pp. 48.Google Scholar
  11. 780.
    Essay, p. 21–5.Google Scholar
  12. 781.
    Institutes, p. 22.Google Scholar
  13. 782.
    P.II., p. 293.Google Scholar
  14. 783.
    P.I., pp. 197–9. ‘The state of nature’ is at once ‘a state of war’ and of ‘amity’. Essay, p. 21.Google Scholar
  15. 784.
    Essay, p. 21.Google Scholar
  16. 785.
    According to Oz-Salzberger, Ferguson’s ‘idea of cognition and moral growth was political’ and since he clearly perceives politics as an exclusively male activity, his observations on moral and psychological development is’ strictly limited to the strong sex’. Oz-Salzberger, Translating the Enlightenment, pp. 114–15.Google Scholar
  17. 786.
    Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Edited and with an Introduction by C.B. MacPherson, Ringwood: Penguin 1981, I, xiii, pp. 184–88.Google Scholar
  18. 787.
    Montesquieu had also opposed Hobbes in this ‘binary opposites’ matter but the former’s position differs from Ferguson’s in its contractarian tendencies. Montesquieu, Laws, 1.1. 2. pp. 6–7.Google Scholar
  19. 788.
    P.I., pp. 16–17.Google Scholar
  20. 789.
    Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 6. 15. p. 93.Google Scholar
  21. 790.
    P.I., pp. 17; 323. Essay, pp. 28–9.Google Scholar
  22. 791.
    Essay, p. 29.Google Scholar
  23. 792.
    P.I., pp. 332–3.Google Scholar
  24. 793.
    P.I., pp. 18–19.Google Scholar
  25. 794.
    Essay, p. 47.Google Scholar
  26. 795.
    As Springborg has suggested with respect to Machiavelli. Springborg, Western Republicanism, p.221. Ferguson, Essay, pp. 23–4.Google Scholar
  27. 796.
    Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Translated and with an Introduction by George Bull, London: Penguin, 1981, 15. p. 91.Google Scholar
  28. 797.
    P.II., p. 502.Google Scholar
  29. 798.
    ‘Their wars, and their treaties, their mutual jealousies, and the establishments which they devise in view to each other, constitute more than half the occupations of mankind, and furnish materials for their greatest and most improving exertions’. Essay, p. 116.Google Scholar
  30. 799.
    Essay, pp. 47–8; 104.The ‘disciplined soldier...contends against an enemy with an alacrity and even gaiety of spirit’. P.II., p. 503.Google Scholar
  31. 800.
    Tacitus is also a source for Ferguson’s views on the socially binding effects of war. Tacitus, The Agricola and the Germania, Translated and with an Introduction by H. Mattingly, London: Penguin, 1970, passim.Google Scholar
  32. 801.
    P.II, pp. 502–3.Google Scholar
  33. 802.
    Essay, p. 26.Google Scholar
  34. 803.
    Discourses, 1. 1. pp. 100–1.Google Scholar
  35. 804.
    Essay, pp. 99, 26–9.Google Scholar
  36. 805.
    Ferrarotti, ‘Civil Society and State Structures’, p. 14. This line of thought is not to be confused with any kind of social contract born of a chaotic state of nature. This formation is inevitable, grounded in instincts, teleologically conceived.Google Scholar
  37. 806.
    Essay, p. 28.Google Scholar
  38. 807.
    P.II., p. 502; Essay, pp. 149–50.Google Scholar
  39. 808.
    Strasser, The Normative Structure of Sociology, p. 56.Google Scholar
  40. 809.
    Barnes, ‘Sociology before Comte’, p. 235.Google Scholar
  41. 810.
    Essay, 124–5, 128; Hamoway, ‘Progress and Commerce’, p. 73.Google Scholar
  42. 811.
    Essay, pp. 247–57.Google Scholar
  43. 812.
    Reflections, p. 2.Google Scholar
  44. 813.
    Essay, pp. 124–4.Google Scholar
  45. 814.
    Institutes, p. 289.Google Scholar
  46. 815.
    Essay, p. 131. Herman Strasser’s brief but excellent review of Ferguson’s achievement has been paraphrased here. Strasser, The Normative Structure of Sociology, pp. 56–57.Google Scholar
  47. 816.
    Forbes, ‘Introduction’ to Essay, p. xxxvi.Google Scholar
  48. 817.
    David Hume, ‘Of Parties in General’, Essays, p. 55.Google Scholar
  49. 818.
    Shaw, Political History of Eighteenth Century Scotland, p. 18.Google Scholar
  50. 819.
    Hume, ‘Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth’, Essays, p. 514.Google Scholar
  51. 820.
    Hume, ‘Of Refinement in the Arts’, Essays, p. 274.Google Scholar
  52. 821.
    Hamowy, ‘Progress and Commerce’, pp. 74–5.Google Scholar
  53. 822.
    Essay, p. 255.Google Scholar
  54. 823.
    Polybius, Rise of the Roman Empire, 6. 10. p. 311.Google Scholar
  55. 824.
    Essay, p. 61.Google Scholar
  56. 825.
    P.II., p. 510.Google Scholar
  57. 826.
    Essay, pp. 62–3Google Scholar
  58. 827.
    Essay, p. 252.Google Scholar
  59. 828.
    Essay, p. 209.Google Scholar
  60. 829.
    Essay, p. 255.Google Scholar
  61. 830.
    Essay, p. 254, n. 97.Google Scholar
  62. 831.
    Essay, p. 170.Google Scholar
  63. 832.
    Hume, ‘Populousness of Ancient Nations’, Essays, pp. 404–6Google Scholar
  64. 833.
    Pierre L. Van Den Bergh, ‘Dialectic and Functionalism: Towards a Theoretical Synthesis’, Sociological Theory, W.L. Wallace (ed.), Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1969, p. 210; Essay, p. 252.Google Scholar
  65. 834.
    Essay, p. 249.Google Scholar
  66. 835.
    Machiavelli, Discourses 1. 4. p. 113. See also Bernard Crick’s illuminating commentary on this subject in the ‘Introduction’, pp. 33–37. Roy Branson suggests that Ferguson influenced Madison in this regard. Roy Branson, ‘James Madison and the Scottish Enlightenment’, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 40, 1979, pp. 235–50, pp. 248–9.Google Scholar
  67. 836.
    Essay, p. 63.Google Scholar
  68. 837.
    P.I, p. 267.Google Scholar
  69. 838.
    Ferguson paraphrases Plutarch here: ‘[G]ood citizens should be led to dispute’. Essay, p. 63.Google Scholar
  70. 839.
    Reflections, 21–29. For a fuller discussion of Ferguson’s attitude to national defence see: Richard Sher, ‘Adam Ferguson, Adam Smith and the Problem of National Defense’, Journal of Modern History, Vol. 61 (2) 1989, pp. 240–68. See also, by the same author, Church and University, pp. 213–41.Google Scholar
  71. 840.
    Essay, p. 47.Google Scholar
  72. 841.
    Essay, pp. 28, 45–7.Google Scholar
  73. 842.
    ‘[P]ursuit in Ferguson’s civic language, is not limited to the quest for material improvement. It is hunt, war and play as much as labour, arts, or commerce, which for Ferguson marked the realisation of men’s true nature’. Oz-Salzberger, Translating the Enlightenment, p. 115.Google Scholar
  74. 843.
    Indeed, Ferguson goes so far as to suggest that, were it possible to estimate the numbers of England’s poachers, one could ‘compute the present Strength of our country’. Reflections, pp. 16–17.Google Scholar
  75. 844.
    Machiavelli, Discourses, 3. 39. p. 511. Machiavelli, in turn, cites his debt to Xenophon.Google Scholar
  76. 845.
    Robert Van Krieken, Norbert Elias, London: Routledge, 1997, p. 129.Google Scholar
  77. 846 N.
    Elias and E. Dunning, Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process, Oxford: Blackwell, 1986, p. 65; Van Krieken, Norbert Elias, pp. 127; 129.Google Scholar
  78. 847.
    Jeremy MacClancy (ed), Sport, Identity and Ethnicity, Oxford: Berg Publishers, 1996, pp. 3, 7.Google Scholar
  79. 848.
    Essay, p. 28. See also Reflections, pp. 17–18.Google Scholar
  80. 849.
    This kind of’ safety-valve’ theory of conflict was also outlined by Simmel and the German ethnologist Heinrich Schurtz who referred to ‘institutionalised outlets for hostilities and drives ordinarily suppressed by the group’ as a means for protecting social life from their otherwise potentially destructive impact. Coser, Functions of Social Conflict, p. 41.Google Scholar
  81. 850.
    Van Den Bergh, ‘Dialectic and Functionalism’, pp. 210–11.Google Scholar
  82. 851.
    Lewis A. Coser, Continuities in the Study of Social Conflict, New York: The Free Press, 1970, p. 4.Google Scholar
  83. 852.
    For a fuller discussion of Ferguson’s views on this topic see John Robertson, The Scottish Enlightenment and the Militia Issue, Edinburgh: John Donald, 1985, pp. 88–91, 200–22.Google Scholar
  84. 853.
    Elias and Dunning, Quest for Excitement, pp. 60–90.Google Scholar
  85. 854.
    John Keane, Civil Society, pp. 117–19.Google Scholar
  86. 855.
    Essay, p. 188.Google Scholar
  87. 856.
    Essay, pp. 189–190; Reflections, p. 8..Google Scholar
  88. 857.
    Rousseau, ‘A Discourse on the Moral Effect of the Arts and Sciences’, in Social Contract and Discourses, p. 7.Google Scholar
  89. 858.
    Essay, p. 28.Google Scholar
  90. 859.
    Though Adam Smith also made reference to the ennobling hardships of war, it was not for him a consistent theme. Smith, TMS, VI. iii, 6. p. 239.Google Scholar
  91. 860.
    P.II., pp. 507–9.Google Scholar
  92. 861.
    Essay, pp. 28–29, 149.Google Scholar
  93. 862.
    Essay. p. 29.Google Scholar
  94. 863.
    Essay, p. 25.Google Scholar
  95. 864.
    Essay, p. 104.Google Scholar
  96. 865.
    Essay, p. 26.Google Scholar
  97. 866.
    Essay, p. 29.Google Scholar
  98. 867.
    Garry Wills, Inventing America, New York: Doubleday, 1978, p. 289.Google Scholar
  99. 868.
    Essay, p. 25; Waszek, Man’s Social Nature, pp. 162–3.Google Scholar
  100. 869.
    Cicero, De Officiis, 1. 44. 157. p. 161.Google Scholar
  101. 870.
    Anthony Ashley Cooper, (Lord Shaftesbury) ‘An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour’, Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times Etc, Edited and with an Introduction by John M. Robertson, in 2 Vols, London: Grant Richards, I, pp. 76–7.Google Scholar
  102. 871.
    Bernstein, ‘Adam Ferguson and The Idea of Progress’, p. 108.Google Scholar
  103. 872.
    ‘To be in society is the physical state of the species, not the moral distinction of any particular man. It is the state of those who quarrel, as well as those who agree’. P.II., p. 24.Google Scholar
  104. 873.
    Oz-Salzberger, Translating the Enlightenment, p. 116.Google Scholar
  105. 874.
    Waszek, Man’s Social Nature, 161–63; Kettler, Social and Political Thought of Adam Ferguson, p. 156.Google Scholar
  106. 875.
    Kettler, Social and Political Thought of Adam Ferguson, p. 156.Google Scholar
  107. 876.
    P.I., p. 7.Google Scholar
  108. 877.
    Waszek, Man’s Social Nature, pp. 162–63.Google Scholar
  109. 878.
    For further discussion of the relationship between war, duty and pacificism in Roman Stoicism see Hill, ‘The Two Republicae of the Roman Stoics’, pp. 65–79.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Personalised recommendations