Chapter

The American Crisis and The Wealth of Nations

Ian Simpson Ross

in The Life of Adam Smith

Published in print October 1995 | ISBN: 9780198288213
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596827 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198288212.003.0015
 The American Crisis and The Wealth of Nations

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From 1773 until 1776, Smith remained in London ‐adding finishing touches to WN, whose publication was timed to seize Parliament's attention, and influence Members to support a peaceful resolution of the conflict with the American colonies. North America offered a major point of application for free‐market theory, and if Smith could win supporters, there was some hope of ending the cycle of violence induced by efforts to preserve the old colonial system involving economic restraints and prohibitions. Smith advocated the creation of an Atlantic union, which would accommodate economic dynamism, develop new political institutions, and allow a place for the revolutionary spirit to be exercised. He foresaw that the pace of American economic growth would inevitably guarantee that leadership would pass from Britain to the former colonies. On an entirely different front at this period, Smith, in commenting on a proposal for reform in university medical education, revealed the strength of his endorsement of competition and detestation of monopolies of any kind.

Keywords: colonies; growth; monopolies; restraints; prohibitions

Chapter.  10593 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Economic Thought

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