Рефераты. Adam Smith

Adam Smith

Irkutsk State University

Sociology Faculty


Student: Poleh Andrew

Group: 15131

Irkutsk 1999

Early Life

The exact date of Smith’s birthday is unknown, it is reputed that he was

born on June 5, 1723, in Kikcaldy, a small (population 1,500) village near

Edinburgh. Of Smith’s childhood nothing is known other than that he

received his elementary schooling in Kirkcaldy.

At the age of 14, in 1737, Smith entered the university of Glasgow. There,

he was deeply influenced by Francis Hutcheson, a famous professor of moral

philosophy. In 1740, Smith won a scholarship and travelled on horseback to

Oxford, where he stayed at Balliol College. In that time Oxford was one of

the bigger education centers in Great Britain. His years there were spent

largely in self-education, from which Smith obtained both classical and

contemporary philosophy.

Returning to his home after an absence of six years, Smith cast about for

suitable employment. The connections of his mother’s family, together with

the support of the jurist and philosopher Lord Henry Kames, resulted in an

opportunity to give a series of public lectures in Edinburgh.

The lectures, which ranged over a wide variety of subjects from rhetoric

history and economics, made a deep impression on some of Smith’s notable

contemporaries. They also had a marked influence on Smith’s own career. In

1751, at the age of 27, he was appointed professor of logic at Glasgow,

from which post he transferred in 1752 to the more remunerative

professorship of moral philosophy, a subject that embraced the related

fields of natural theology, ethics, jurisprudence, and political economy.


During the week he lectured daily from 7:00 to 8:00 am and again thrice

weekly from 11 am to noon, to classes of up to 90 students, at the age of

about sixteen years. Afternoons were occupied with university affairs in

which Smith played an active role, being elected dean of faculty in 1758;

his evenings were spent in the stimulating company of Glasgow society.

Among his friends were not only members of the aristocracy, many connected

with the government, but also a range of intellectual and scientific

figures that included Joseph Black, a pioneer in the field of chemistry,

James Watt, one of the best engineer of that days and many others.

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

In 1759 Smith Published his first work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. In

it Smith with other leading philosophers of his time described the

principles of “human nature “. He wrote in his Moral Sentiments the famous

observation that he was to repeat later in The Wealth of Nations: that self-

seeking men are often “led by an invisible hand... without knowing it ,

without intending it, to advance the interest of the society.”

Travels on the Continent

The Theory quickly brought Smith wide esteem and in particular attention

of many famous people. Smith resigned his Glasgow post in 1763 and set off

for France. In France he lived about 18 months. After that he went to

Geneva, and worked there. After Geneva he returned to London were he

worked until the spring of 1767. In that period he was elected a fellow

of the Royal Society. His intellectual circle included Edmund Burke, Samuel

Johnson, Edward Gibbon, and perhaps Benjamin Franklin. Late that year he

returned to Kirkcaldy, where the next six years were spent dictating and

reworking The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776 in London.

The Wealth of Nations (Исследование о природе и причинах богатства народа)

and economic growth.

It was the first great work in political economy. The Wealth of Nations is

in fact a continuation of the philosophical theme begun in The Theory of

Moral Sentiments.

Smith’s analysis of the market as a self- correcting mechanism was

impressive. But his purpose was more ambitious than to demonstrate the self-

adjusting properties of the system. Rather, it was to show that, under the

impetus of the acquisitive drive, the annual flow of national wealth could

be seen steadily to grow. Smith’s explanation of economic growth , although

not neatly assembled in one part of The Wealth of Nations. It is quite


The Wealth of Nations was received many grants. It was the success.

Smith was therefore quite well off in the final years of his life, which

were spent mainly in Edinburgh with occasional trips to London or Glasgow

(which appointed him a rector of the university). Smith never married, and

almost nothing is known of his personal side. On July 17, 1790, at the age

of 67, full of honours and recognition, Smith died; he was buried in the

churchyard in his native village with a simple monument stating that Adam

Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, was buried there.


John Rae. “Life of Adam Smith” 1985

William Scott. “Adam Smith as Student and Professor” 1987

Andrew S. Skinner. “Essays on Adam Smith” 1988

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