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Adam Smith, Radical and EgalitarianAn Interpretation for the 21st Century$
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Iain McLean

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748623525

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623525.001.0001

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The French and American Smiths

The French and American Smiths

(p.100) 6 The French and American Smiths
Adam Smith, Radical and Egalitarian

Iain McLean

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter elaborates the posthumous reputation for Adam Smith as a hammer of the French Revolution. Smith's policy advice shows him to be no friend of the American colonies. But in other respects, his moral philosophy and economic theory was to be of great help to them. The Navigation Acts had made the fortune of Glasgow after the Act of Union, and therefore in a sense had made Smith's own career. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were those who created the institutions of the United States. Jefferson's career was entwined with Madison's throughout their lives. Jefferson and Madison believed that the foundation of the state should be the ‘virtuous farmer’. Alexander Hamilton followed Sir James Steuart rather than Smith. Smith was probably an enemy of the French Revolution. Many of the generation of intellectuals who understood and admired Smith were depleted in the Revolution.

Keywords:   Adam Smith, French Revolution, economic theory, moral philosophy, Navigation Acts, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Sir James Steuart

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