adamsmith - ~.f ~ ADAM SMITH(1723-1790 1750 Industrial...

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! !' '") ~..f,.. ~ ADAM SMITH (1723 -1790) & the Wealth of Nations (1776) 1750: Industrial Revolution 1776: American Revolution 1789 -1799: French Revolution The Scottish philosopher Adam Smith was a pioneer in the subject of political economy and is known today primarily for An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), which. was one of the earliest attempts to systematically study the historical development of industry and commerce in Europe, as well as a sustained attack on the doctrines of mercantilism. Smith's work helped to create the modern academic discipline of economics and provided one ofthe best-known intellectual rationales for free trade, capitalism, and libertarianism. BIOGRAPHY: What They Probably Told You on A&E Smith was a son of the controller of the customs at Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. At around the age of 4, he was kidnapped by a band of Gypsies, but he was quickly rescued by his uncle and returned to his mother. Smith's biographer, John Rae, commented wryly that he feared Smith would have made "a poor Gypsy." EDUCATION & EARLY CAREER: "Adam Smith as the 'Professional Student' " At the age of fourteen, Smith entered the University of Glasgow, where he studied moral philosophy under Francis Hutcheson and developed his strong passion for liberty, reason, and free speech. In 1748, Smith began delivering public lectures in Edinburgh and later took up the subject of "the progress of opulence." It was then, in his middle or late 20s, that he first expounded the economic philosophy of "the obvious and simple system of natural liberty" which he was later to proclaim to the world in his Wealth of Nations. Around 1750 he met the philosopher David Hume whose opinions and writings were closely aligned with his own regarding history, , politics, philosophy, religion, & trade. In 1751 Smith was appointed chair of logic at the University of Glasgow, transferring in 1752 to the Chair of Moral Philosophy, once occupied by his famous teacher, Francis Hutcheson. Smith's lectures covered the fields of ethics, rhetoric, jurisprudence, political economy, and "police and revenue." In 1759, he published The Theory of Moral Sentiments. In the years that followed, Smith began to give more attention to jurisprudence and economics in his lectures and less attention to his theories of morals. The notes of his lectures taken down by a student in about 1763 have been published as "An Early Draft of Part of The Wealth of Nations." MAJOR INFLUENCE: "The Tour de France?" At the end of 1763, he obtained a lucrative offer from Charles Townshend (who had been introduced to Smith by David Hume), to tutor his stepson, the young Duke of Buccleuch. From 1764 to 1766, Smith travelled with
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