Population and Political Economy from Montesquieu to Malthus and Beyond, St Andrews, 23 January 2020

The research team had the pleasure to present their research at a workshop entitled Population and Political Economy from Montesquieu to Malthus and Beyond, held at the University of St Andrews on the 23th of January. University of St Andrews is home to one of the most important and internationally recognised centres for intellectual history, the St Andrews Institute of Intellectual History. The event was co-organised by the Dr. Lina Weber (Institute of Intellectual History) and Dr. Graham Clure (UNIL). In the course of the workshop Paul Cheney (Univ. of Chicago), presented a paper entitled “Montesquieu as Dependency Theorist? An Exercise in Simultaneous Contrast”, Niall O’Flaherty (London) talked on the subject of “Poverty and Politics in Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population (1803)” and Lina Weber (St Andrews) presented the paper “Setting Britain to rights: Dugald Stewart and Physiocracy”. Three doctoral students from the University of St Andrews participated in a panel, with Cailean Gallagher (“The San Domingo Plot: James Steuart on Property, Poverty, and a Plan for a ‘Free Government’”), Amy Westwell (“A Substance for a Shadow: The Anglo-French Commercial Treaty of 1786”) and Lasse Andersen (“Principles of Population and Productivity: The Large Farm-Small Farm Debate in 19th Century Political Economy”).

Dr. Graham Clure presented a paper on Rousseau and Dupont de Nemours which explored the questions of constitution, public administration and agrarian reform in the context of Switzerland, Poland and America. Two junior members of the team, Auguste Bertholet and Radek Szymanski, were joined by a friend and associate of the Agrarian Republics research project Aris Della Fontana (Pisa/Lausanne), and together the three presented a panel on the different facets of the Spirit of Legislation competition. In their papers they discussed, respectively: its role in the Pays du Vaud as a platform to question some aspects of the Bernese political hegemony over the region ; its role in the educational project of the brothers Mniszech, as well as its place among broader literature on public administration and economic reform; and the complex and multifaceted reception that the winning entries received in Italy.

Many thanks to the organizers of the workshop from the organizers Lina Weber and Graham Clure, and thanks also to Richard Whatmore and the Institute of Intellectual History at St Andrews for hosting us.