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Smith, Adam (1723–1790)

Both a philosopher and political economist, Adam Smith was one of the principal thinkers of 18th-century Scotland, whose name is intimately associated with the early history of economic science. He was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, in the late spring of 1723—the exact date is unknown—and was baptized on June 5, 1723. The son of the comptroller of the customs at Kirkcaldy, who died 5 months before his birth, Adam was educated in the grammar school there. At the age of 15, he was sent to the University of Glasgow, where he studied moral philosophy under Francis Hutcheson, one of Scotland's greatest thinkers, and in 1740, he entered Balliol College, Oxford, as an exhibitor (i.e., as a student possessed of a scholarship). Smith's interest in the ...

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