Lectures on Jurisprudence (1762)

Recommended edition: Lectures On Jurisprudence, ed. R.. L. Meek, D. D. Raphael and P. G. Stein, vol. V of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982).


“1stThe first and chief design of every system of government is to maintain justice; to prevent the members of a society from incroaching on one anothers property, or siezing what is not their own. The design here is to give each one the secure and peacable possession of his own property. {The end proposed by justice is the maintaining men in what are called their perfect rights.} When this end, which we may call the internall peace, or peace within doors, is | secured, the government will next be desirous of promoting the opulence of the state. This produces what we call police. Whatever regulations are made with respect to the trade, commerce, agriculture, manufactures of the country are considered as belonging to the police.”

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