This chapter addresses the challenges that Adam Smith’s theory of moral sentiments implies for a democratic politics of compassion. Smith conceives sympathy as a mechanism that enables individuals to understand and assess the whole spectrum of others’ sentiments, including sorrow, resentment, and joy. His basic sense of sympathy prefigures contemporary evolutionary biologists’ identification of our species’ highly evolved capacity to mirror sentiments (Iacoboni 2009; Decety 2009; De Waal 2006). Many philosophical analyses of Smith’s concept of sympathy focus on how he links this embodied, reflex capacity to the imagination and thence to the making of moral judgements. One of the central questions in this context is how Smith thinks we translate our involuntary, physiological response to others’ emotional expression into cognitive appraisals, causal explanations and targeted helping. The key epistemological issue is how these physiological reflexes contribute to the genesis of ‘objective’ or ‘impartial’ judgements of the propriety of others’ sentiments. These accounts focus on Smith’s analysis of the role of sympathy in constituting impartial judgements.