This article attempts to illustrate the interrelations between theory and history in John Stuart Mill’s political economy. Mill follows a stages theory from the tradition of the Scottish historical school and viewed history as an essential part in understanding economic phenomena. The article stresses the affinities between Mill and the Scottish historical school while at the same time showing how Mill moves between theory and history to verify his views or to show the limit of his economic analysis. This movement, viewed as a part of his attempt to sketch out a middle way between Ricardianism and inductivism, provided Mill the opportunity to make an extensive use of factual data before the professionalization of economic history proper in the late nineteenth century.

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