83 Adam Smith Facts: Everything About The Father Of Economics

Aryan Khanna
Jan 04, 2023 By Aryan Khanna
Originally Published on Nov 29, 2021
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Read this article to know some intriguing Adam Smith facts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.8 Min

Adam Smith, a Scottish-born economist, lived for 67 years from June 5, 1723, to July 17, 1790, playing a key role during the period that is now regarded as the Scottish Enlightenment.

Adam Smith was born in Fife, Scotland, in the year 1723, three years after his parents' marriage. Interestingly, Adam Smith's father's name was also Adam Smith; he was a Scottish senior solicitor, prosecutor, advocate, and a comptroller of the customs in Kirkcaldy.

Adam Smith's father passed away two months before he was born; he was thus single-handedly raised by his mother, Margaret Douglas. Smith's mother encouraged him to pursue studies and follow his interests.

Smith received his early education from the Burgh School of Kirkcaldy from 1729-1737. He received formal education in the subjects of Latin, history, mathematics, and writing. Later on, he pursued his higher education and became one of the great minds this world has ever seen.

By the time Smith died in 1790, he was known as 'The Father of Economics'. Adam Smith's economic ideas and works were a revelation.

Smith's theories and philosophy paved the way for modern economics. Two of his most notable works are 'An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations', commonly known as 'The Wealth of Nations', and the other is 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments'. The former was written in 1776, while the latter was written earlier in 1759.

If you enjoy this article, why not also read our Aristotle factsandMarie Curie facts here on Kidadl?

Fun Facts About Adam Smith

Adam Smith's theory about economics earned him the title of 'Father of Economics'. Before delving into economics, he received formal education in moral philosophy.

It was after his book 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments', which discussed man's ability to recognize the feelings of another person, that he took a turn towards economics. An interesting fact about Adam Smith's early life is that his biological birth date is actually unknown.

June 5, 1723, is his date of baptism and is considered to be his birth date.

Did you know that it was during Adam Smith's time at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, as a lecturer when he came across Adam Hume? Their common interest in philosophy and economics became the basis of their friendship.

We can fathom the impact of Adam Smith's 'The Wealth of Nations' from the fact that it was his work that introduced the concepts of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the theory of compensating wage differentials. These theories are used today by many countries.

The economic theories of Adam Smith are greatly credited for shaping the American economy.

The ideas of division of labor and the 'invisible hand' are also the brainchildren of Adam Smith. The theories of Adam Smith are highly regarded in schools of classical economics and also at the Adam Smith Institute.

Facts About Adam Smith's Education

Smith received his early education at the Burgh School of Kirkcaldy in his hometown. His father had passed away before he was born, and so it was his mother who encouraged him to pursue his dream and apply for further education.

Smith began his further education at the age of 14 at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Interestingly, it wasn't economics that he studied there; he studied moral philosophy under the renowned philosopher Francis Hutcheson.

It was during his graduation years at the University of Glasgow that he developed his interests in the subjects of free speech, liberty, and reason. Upon completion of his course, he went to Oxford University for his postgraduate studies.

Unfortunately, Adam Smith's time at Oxford University isn't the most notable part of his life. He has mentioned that he preferred the teaching style and culture at Glasgow University.

During his time at Oxford University, the only part Adam Smith appreciated was when he got access to the Bodleian Library. In fact, during the end of his time at Oxford, Smith had nervous breakdowns and left in 1746 before the end of his scholarship.

Adam Smith is 'The Father of Economics'.

Facts About Adam Smith's Philosophy

As Adam Smith came back from Oxford, Smith began giving public lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 1748. Two years later, he met David Hume at the University, and this was when Adam Smith and Hume started discussing economics and philosophy, forming the basis of Smith's works and his philosophical view on mutual sympathy, and later on, economics.

After Smith wrote his first book, 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments' in 1759, he gathered huge attention from students all over the world who came to Glasgow University for their education. Smith was now more focused on economics and resigned from the University.

He started to tutor Henry Scott after 1762, and after a few years, began to work on his most famous book, 'An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations', which he is best known for. Smith believed in the philosophy that capitalism would favor consumers rather than producers.

According to him, enlightened self-interest would play a big role in fixing capitalism.

The Scottish philosopher and economist also believed that governments should play a limited role in society. They should be focused on the administration of justice, public goods, and national defense instead.

He believed that the role of government should be well defined but limited.

In the book 'The Wealth of Nations', one of the most notable ideas of Smith was that if people are given the freedom to produce and there exists free trade, with opening up of domestic and foreign competition, it would be better.

He felt that people with their self-interests would aid the economy of a country to prosper, rather than needing strict government rules. This was also the main belief of Smith in the subject of political economy and was similarly conveyed in 'The Wealth of Nations'.

Interestingly, a number of countries, including America, adopted the views of the Scottish economist and philosopher in building the economy of their nations.

Facts About Adam Smith's Contribution To Economy

The fact that Adam Smith is regarded as 'The Father of Economics' speaks to his contribution to society. As his works were studied from the mid-18th and 19th centuries, the world realized the foresightedness of the man. Adam Smith is also regarded as the most influential economist of all time.

Despite being a lecturer at Edinburgh University and then at Glasgow University, his work earned him his fame. Alexander Hamilton, who was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, was greatly influenced by Smith's 'The Wealth of Nations'.

Being the secretary of the treasury, he shaped the economy of the United States in accordance with the principles and beliefs of Smith. The concepts of GDP, the importance of free markets, and the importance of assembly-line production methods are used throughout the world even today.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our 83 Adam Smith facts, then why not take a look at our Marco Polo facts or Albert Einstein facts?

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Written by Aryan Khanna

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Aryan Khanna picture

Aryan KhannaBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

A dedicated and hardworking content writer currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Management Studies from St. Xavier's University, Kolkata. Aryan aims to gain corporate exposure and enhance his skills while creating well-researched and engaging content that is SEO-friendly. Aryan is a talented individual who puts in the effort to overcome any obstacle in his way.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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