Henry Home, Lord Kames, was by nature an advocatefor reform and improvement and stood at the heartof the modernizing and liberalizing movement nowknown as the Scottish Enlightenment. The reaction to hisEssays on the Principles of Morality and NaturalReligion was a defining moment in the establishment ofthe predominance of moderation in the Church ofScotland.Divided into three books, Kamess Sketches of theHistory of Man draws together the concerns of manyof his earlier works. The first book considers man in theprivate sphere and presents Kamess version of thefour-stage theory of history: the progress, that is, fromhunting, through the shepherd state to agriculture, andthence to commerce. It contains, in addition, sketches onprogress in the arts, taste, manners, and appetite forluxury goods.The second book takes as its subject man in thepublic sphere and explores the implications of hisnatural appetite for society. Kames develops the notionthat political, legal, and financial institutions are bestregulated when it is understood that they are outgrowthsof aspects of human nature.In the final book, Kames turns to an account ofprogress in the sciences of logic, morals, and theology. He seeks to vindicate the claim that humanunderstanding is in a progress towards maturity, howeverslow. Throughout the entire work, Kames expounds onhis fundamental hypothesis that at the beginning of thehistory of the human race, savagery was ubiquitous andthat the human story is one of an emergence out ofbarbarism and toward maturity.Henry Home, Lord Kames (16961782), one of the leaders of the Scottish Enlightenment, was a judge in the supremecourts of Scotland and wrote extensively on morals, religion, education, aesthetics, history,political economy, and law, including natural law. His most distinctive contribution came throughhis works on the nature of law, where he sought to combine a philosophical approach with anempirical history of legal evolution.James Harris is a Lecturer inPhilosophy at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University ofSussex, England.