The purpose of these Excursions is to explore the fascinating and complex history of libertarian ideas. Over four decades of reading, writing, and lecturing on the history of libertarianism have taught Smith an important lesson, namely, that the theories of some early libertarian thinkers were sometimes better and more sophisticated than the theories we take for granted today.

George H. Smith

George H. Smith was formerly Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for Humane Studies, a lecturer on American History for Cato Summer Seminars, and Executive Editor of Knowledge Products. Smith's fourth and most recent book, The System of Liberty, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.


Was Thomas Jefferson a Plagiarist?

by George H. Smith on Nov 15, 2011

Jefferson drew on a rich intellectual tradition when he drafted the Declaration of Independence. But did he also draw directly from contemporary works?


The Other Adam Smith, Part 4

by George H. Smith on Oct 15, 2013

George Smith explores Adam Smith’s views on Columbus, smuggling, and education.


The Other Adam Smith, Part 3

by George H. Smith on Oct 8, 2013

George Smith discusses Adam Smith’s views on sin taxes and slavery.


The Other Adam Smith, Part 2

by George H. Smith on Oct 1, 2013

George Smith discusses some of Adam Smith’s social, political, and moral objections to governmental interference in the economy, as found in the Wealth of Nations.


Thomas Hodgskin Versus Herbert Spencer, Part 3

by George H. Smith on Aug 27, 2013

Smith compares the positions of Hodgskin and Smith on the history of landownership, and their opposition to the political power of the landed aristocracy.