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By Donald W. Stokes, Lillian Q. Stokes

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Extra info for A Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume II: In the Wild and at Your Feeder (Stokes Nature Guides)

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13 We cannot, of course, explain this simply by insisting that Ferguson was unconcerned with Scotland. He was, as we know, prominently involved in a series of symbolic national campaigns – over the Scots militia and over Ossian – throughout the years during which the Essay was being conceived and written. His patriotic credentials, in short, are unimpeachable. 14 As we shall see, the Essay was actually brim-full with material that reflected Ferguson’s deep curiosity about matters very close to home.

25 The same questions raised by the need to account for the unfolding of events within ordinary experience, however, could not be easily separated from those which concerned historical theorists like Ferguson who, in the quest to develop a comprehensive ‘natural history of mankind’, wished to understand the forces that had directed the human past. It was this fascination, very much inherited from earlier generations of Scottish historians, that led in part to the particular priority that the Enlightenment’s theorists now gave to explaining the nature and causes of large-scale historical change.

2 FERGUSON AND SCOTTISH HISTORY: PAST AND PRESENT IN AN ESSAY ON THE HISTORY OF CIVIL SOCIETY David Allan Adam Ferguson has always provided a face for every occasion. 2 To yet another audience, he belongs, along with his friends Adam Smith and David Hume, to the grand tradition of classical political economy. 6 Arguably the most important reason for this failure to see Ferguson’s work as a whole has been the tendency, encouraged by the interest shown in his ideas by such radically different scholarly and ideological groupings – many not conspicuously grounded in historical study – to decontextualize his intellectual achievements.

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