Engraving of Scottish economist Adam Smith.

Adam Smith

(1723 - 1790)

Adam Smith was briefly kidnapped by Roma at the age of four. A biographer observed, “He would have made, I fear, a poor gypsy.” Publishing his first book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, in 1759, Smith was later elected to the Royal Society of London and became acquainted with Edward Gibbon, who published the first volume of his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in February 1776. Less than a month later, Smith published The Wealth of Nations. “I am a beau in nothing but my books,” Smith once said about his library.

All Writing


“The contempt of risk and the presumptuous hope of success are in no period of life more active than at the age at which young people choose their professions,” wrote Adam Smith in 1776. “How little the fear of misfortune is then capable of balancing the hope of good luck.”

Voices In Time

1759 | Glasgow

Sight Lines

The relativity of disaster response. More

Voices In Time

1776 | Glasgow

Import, Export

Adam Smith explains the commercial origins of political order.More

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard for their own interest.

—Adam Smith, 1776

Voices In Time

1759 | Glasgow

Parental Love

Adam Smith’s love of his children.More

Voices In Time

1776 | London

Trade Routes

Adam Smith extols the benefits of maritime trade.More

Issues Contributed