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.


The Slave Trade and the Constitution

by George H. Smith on Sep 29, 2017

Smith explains some features of the slave trade and the constitutional provision that it would not be banned in America for at least 20 years.


Slavery in the Constitutional Convention

by George H. Smith on Sep 22, 2017

Smith discusses some controversies over slavery during the framing of the Constitution, especially the three-fifths clause.


Constitutional Controversies

by George H. Smith on Sep 15, 2017

Smith discusses some major controversies provoked by the debate over ratification of the U.S. Constitution.


Lysander Spooner on Natural Law

by George H. Smith on Aug 18, 2017

Smith discusses Spooner’s secular theory of natural law and his belief that no legislation is valid unless it conforms to natural law.


Some Thoughts about Writing Essays

by George H. Smith on Aug 4, 2017

With his 250th essay, Smith interrupts his series on abolitionism to offer some reflections on writing essays.


Are Judges Bound to Enforce Unjust Laws?

by George H. Smith on Jul 28, 2017

Smith details the scholarly debate between Lysander Spooner and Wendell Phillips over the constitutionality of slavery.


Freethought and Freedom: Introduction

featuring George H. Smith on Jul 26, 2017

George H. Smith begins his series on the historical relationship between religious skepticism and libertarianism.


Senior, Nassau William (1790-1864)

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

Nassau William Senior was an important British economist who contributed to theories of utility, political economy, and value.


Philosophic Radicals

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

The Philosophic Radicals, including Jeremy Bentham, were British reformers generally supporting Benthian utilitarianism and democratic change.


Oppenheimer, Franz (1864-1943)

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

Franz Oppenheimer, a German sociologist, wrote a comprehensive explanation of the history of the state as a history of conquest.


Mandeville, Bernard (1670-1733)

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

Bernard Mandeville’s controversial essays and allegories raised questions about justice and socially or morally virtuous actions.