21 Facts About Adam Smith

1. Adam Smith viewed government intervention in the market with great skepticism.

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2. Adam Smith resided at Panmure House from 1778 to 1790.

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3. Adam Smith never moved above the heads of even the dullest readers.

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4. Adam Smith used the term "the invisible hand" in "History of Astronomy" referring to "the invisible hand of Jupiter", and once in each of his The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations (1776).

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5. Adam Smith secured the patronage of David Hume and Thomas Reid in the young man's education.

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6. Adam Smith returned home that year to Kirkcaldy, and he devoted much of the next decade to writing his magnum opus.

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7. Adam Smith based his explanation, not on a special "moral sense" as the Third Lord Shaftesbury and Hutcheson had done, nor on utility as Hume did, but on mutual sympathy, a term best captured in modern parlance by the 20th-century concept of empathy, the capacity to recognise feelings that are being experienced by another being.

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8. Adam Smith resigned from his professorship in 1764 to take the tutoring position.

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9. Adam Smith defined "mutual sympathy" as the basis of moral sentiments.

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10. Adam Smith published The Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759, embodying some of his Glasgow lectures.

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11. Adam Smith began delivering public lectures in 1748 in Edinburgh, sponsored by the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh under the patronage of Lord Kames.

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12. Adam Smith left Oxford University in 1746, before his scholarship ended.

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13. Adam Smith considered the teaching at Glasgow to be far superior to that at Oxford, which he found intellectually stifling.

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14. Adam Smith entered the University of Glasgow when he was 14 and studied moral philosophy under Francis Hutcheson.

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15. Adam Smith attended the Burgh School of Kirkcaldy—characterised by Rae as "one of the best secondary schools of Scotland at that period"—from 1729 to 1737, he learned Latin, mathematics, history, and writing.

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16. Adam Smith was born in Kirkcaldy, in the County of Fife, Scotland.

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17. Adam Smith was controversial in his own day and his general approach and writing style were often satirised by Tory writers in the moralising tradition of William Hogarth and Jonathan Swift.

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18. Adam Smith laid the foundations of classical free market economic theory.

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19. Adam Smith obtained a professorship at Glasgow, teaching moral philosophy and during this time, wrote and published The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

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20. Adam Smith studied social philosophy at the University of Glasgow and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was one of the first students to benefit from scholarships set up by fellow Scot John Snell.

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21. Adam Smith wrote two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776).

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