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The Life of Adam Smith$
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Ian Simpson Ross

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198288213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198288212.001.0001

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The American Crisis and The Wealth of Nations

The American Crisis and The Wealth of Nations

(p.248) 15 The American Crisis and The Wealth of Nations
The Life of Adam Smith

Ian Simpson Ross

Oxford University Press

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

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