Adam Smith Biography
Adam Smith was a Scottish philosopher and economist, recognized in the world for being one of the greatest representatives of classical economics, and for his work The Wealth of Nations. He was born on June 5 in Kirkcaldy, Scotland; and was the son of Adam Smith and Margaret Douglas. When he was 4 years old he was kidnapped by a group of gypsies, being rescued thanks to his uncle John Rae.
For the year 1737, after completing his primary and secondary studies at the local school of Kirkcaldy, he entered the University of Glasgow, where he was instructed by Francis Hutcheson, a professor of moral philosophy. The teachings of his teacher served Smith to draw heavily on his work from The Wealth of Nations. In the year 1740, he graduated and won a scholarship to Oxford, where he studied for 6 years at Balliol College.
In the year 1746, he returned to his mother’s house and devoted himself to finding a job that would allow him to alternate with his studies. Between the years 1748 and 1751, he was the assistant professor of rhetoric and literature in Edinburgh, under the command of Lord Henry Kames, who also allowed him to perform as a speaker of the subjects he dictated. At that time, he had a good friendship with the philosopher David Hume, who greatly influenced the economic and ethical theories of Adam Smith.
He was called by the University of Glasgow in 1751, to give a chair of logic, and a year after moral philosophy, where he remained for 12 years. For the year 1759, he published his first book entitled “Theory of moral sentiments” with which he positioned his academic and literary reputation. He also published an essay called “The First Formation of Languages” which was included as an appendix in 6 later editions of the Moral Sentiments.
In the year 1763, Charles Townshend offered Smith a life annuity in exchange for officiating as tutor to his stepson. He accepted the proposal, so he traveled through Switzerland and France, where he met the French Physiocrats, who defended the economy and politics related to the primacy of natural law, wealth and order. He also met Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Diderot, D’Alembert and Necker. In 1766 his trip ended, since the death of Hew Scott, the brother of the Duke whom he taught, ended the trip.
After returning from his trip, for seven years Smith lived with his mother in Kirkcaldy, dedicating himself to work on his book “The Wealth of Nations.”
For the year 1776, Adam Smith published his most important work entitled “The Wealth of Nations” to which he devoted more than 10 years of work and for which he is considered the father of political economy. The work was a success, and during the life of Smith five editions were published (1776, 1778, 1784, 1786, and 1789); It was also translated and published in languages such as Danish, Italian, German, Russian and Spanish.
“No society can prosper and be happy if in it most of the members are poor and unhappy.” Adam Smith
In 1778 he was appointed the director of Customs of Edinburgh, performing work until 1790.
For the year 1779, Adam Smith moved to London where he lived for 5 years. At that time his friend David Hume died, so he published “The Letter to William Strahan” as an obituary. In 1787 he was appointed Honorary Rector of the University of Glasgow, a position he held until 1789.
Before his death, Smith ordered the destruction of almost all his unpublished manuscripts, among which were his lectures on natural religion and jurisprudence, as well as his lessons on rhetoric.
Adam Smith died on July 17, 1790, in Edinburgh, at the age of 67.