Adam Ferguson Quotes

Adam Ferguson, FRSE (Scottish Gaelic: Adhamh MacFhearghais), also known as Ferguson of Raith (20 June 1723 – 22 February 1816), was a Scottish philosopher and historian of the Scottish Enlightenment

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Adam Ferguson


The history of mankind is confined within a limited period, and from every quarter brings an intimation that human affairs have had a beginning.

Adam Ferguson


Like the winds that we come we know not whence and blow whither soever they list, the forces of society are derived from an obscure and distant origin. They arise before the date of philosophy, from the instincts, not the speculations of men.

Adam Ferguson


The artist finds, that the more he can confine his attention to a particular part of any work, his productions are the more perfect, and grow under his hands in the greater quantities.

Adam Ferguson


Man, in his animal capacity, is qualified to subsist in every climate.

Adam Ferguson


Every step and every movement of the multitude, even in what are termed enlightened ages, are made with equal blindness to the future; and nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design.

Adam Ferguson


“In every commercial state, notwithstanding any pretension to equal rights, the exaltation of a few must depress the many.”

Adam Ferguson


“To overawe, or intimidate, or, when we cannot persuade with reason, to resist with fortitude, are the occupations which give its most animating exercise, and its greatest triumphs, to a vigorous mind; and he who has never struggled with his fellow-creatures, is a stranger to half the sentiments of mankind.”

Adam Ferguson