An Essay on the Principle of Population

This set provides a definitive scholarly variorum edition of Malthus' An Essay on the Principle of Population. The edition is based on the second edition of 1803, the work upon which Malthus' repuation as a population theorist and political economist was first built. It shows those parts of the work that incorporated the first edition of 1798, and gives all the variations introduced by Malthus in each of the subsequent editions (1806, 1807, 1817 and 1826). In addition to revealing the nature and extent of Malthus' changes, whether by expansion or excision, the edition reprints the important Appendices added in 1806 and 1817, giving answers to his critics. The work is introduced by the editor and contains a complete bibliography of all the authorities quoted by Malthus, together with extensive explanatory notes. Paricia James has previously edited Robert Malthus' travel diaries (1966) and written an authoritative biography of Malthus, Population Malthus: His Life and Times (1979).


AN ESSAY ON THE PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION is one of the earliest works on population increase and its effects on society. Malthus noted that the endless increase in population was unsustainable and would be eventually checked by disease, war, or famine (Malthusian Catastrophes). In his view, Malthus believed that progress toward a utopian society would eventually be…

Title: An Essay on the Principle of Population

: An Essay on the Principle of Population

Fortunately for Malthus, the recently-formed US government had readily available demographic statistics, in the form of census data. Strangely, however, in his first Essay on the Principle of Population, he summarized these statistics with the single phrase, "the population has been found to double itself in twenty-five years," (Essay.. p. 74). While in later works, notably his 1830 Summary View of the Principle of Population, Malthus would make full use of this data, in the first Essay it was all but ignored.