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The Saga of Pirate Captain John Gow, Part I

by Daniel Defoe on Jan 1, 1725

“Peterson…answered in a surly Tone…So as we Eat so shall we Work:  This he spoke aloud so as that…the Captain should hear him.

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The Legend of Libertalia, Part One

by Charles Johnson in 1728

“He fell upon Government, and shew’d, that every Man was born free, and had as much Right to what would support him, as to the Air he respired.”

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The Legend of Libertalia, Part Two

by Charles Johnson in 1728

“Misson designed his Settlement[,] Libertalia, [naming his people] Liberi…desiring [that it might drown the] Names of French, English, Dutch, Africans, &c.”

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Justice and Property

by David Hume in 1739

Hume argues that rules of justice do not spring fully-formed from rational calculation but emerge from the uncoordinated actions of individuals.

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Of Political Society

by David Hume in 1748

Hume explores the nature of political society and argues that there is some basic utility to the state.

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Labor and Commerce

by Adam Smith in 1756

In this selection from The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith discusses prices in terms of labor and happiness.

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The Man of System

by Adam Smith in 1759

Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments included this passage on two distinct ways of seeing the world: spontaneous order vs planned economy.

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Justice and Beneficence

by Adam Smith in 1759

Smith explains why benevolence is desirable but justice is essential not just to to civil society but also to how we measure our behavior in the eyes of others.

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Slavery, Sin, and Satan

by Levi Hart on Sep 20, 1774

Having defined and described liberty, Hart exposes the sin of slavery, and the slaveholder’s own bondage to Satan.

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Of Society and Civilization

by Thomas Paine in 1776

In this excerpt from The Rights of Man, here Thomas Paine argues that the order naturally observed in human society is not the result of government.