Lectures on Jurisprudence

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Lectures on Jurisprudence is a book of Adam Smith's lectures, comprising notes taken from his early lectures, plus an early draft of The Wealth of Nations.[1] [2]

Published as part of the 1976 Glasgow Edition of the works and correspondence of Adam Smith. It consists of two sets of lecture notes that were apparently taken from Smith's lectures of the 1760s, along with an 'Early Draft' of The Wealth of Nations.

The same material had also appeared as An Early Draft of Part of The Wealth of Nations and as Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue and Arms. The documents are generally accepted as authentic, though this cannot be proved absolutely.

Smith’s Lectures on Jurisprudence, originally delivered at the University of Glasgow in 1762–1763, present his ‘theory of the rules by which civil government ought to be directed.’ The chief purpose of government, according to Smith, is to preserve justice; and ‘the object of justice is security from injury.’ The state must protect the individual’s right to his person, property, reputation, and social relations.


  1. ^ Smith, Adam (1976), Meek, Ronald E., Raphael, David D., Stein G. Peter, ed., Lectures on Jurisprudence, Oxford: Oxford University Press 
  2. ^ See also Cannan, Edwin, ed. (1896), Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue and Arms delivered in the University of Glasgow by Adam Smith and reported by a Student in 1763 (First ed.), Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 293, retrieved 2012-12-14