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Analysis of Liberty in Society- Both Adam Smith and Alexis de Tocqueville agree that an individual is the most qualified to make decisions affecting the sphere of the individual as long as those decisions do not violate the law of justice From this starting point each theorist proposes a role of government and comments on human nature and civil society Smith focuses on economic liberty and the ways in which government can repress this liberty to the detriment of society De Tocqueville emphasizes political liberty and the way that government can be organized to promote political liberty protect individual liberty and promote civil liberty Adam Smiths theory makes a strong argument for the assertion that a free market will provide overall good for society but as de Tocqueville points out it provides little or no protection for the poor Smiths picture of human nature given in The Theory of Moral Sentiments suggests that people would do good and take care of the weak because of characteristics of their nature Unfortunately this image contrasts with the picture of the individual which emerges from his economic argument in Wealth of Nations and is a generally unsatisfying answer In attempting to define liberty Adam Smith is mostly concerned with negative liberty or freedom from constraint especially market constraints According to him in a free market as long as they are not fettered by government regulation actions are guided toward the public good as if by an invisible hand Furthermore the economic sphere is the determining section of society Therefore from his economic model he derives his argument for the best role of government and asserts that the resultant society will be the best overall for civilization
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