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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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(p.17) 2 Boyhood
The Life of Adam Smith

Ian Simpson Ross

Oxford University Press

The emotional strength of his mother, Margaret Douglas, and close kinship bonds, to some degree, compensated Adam Smith for the loss of his father. In addition, he was well prepared at the Kirkcaldy burgh school for his student years, and found his vocation as a moral philosopher, in an era marked by a strong drive for advance in agriculture and other economic sectors.

Most important of all, his Presbyterian inheritance, together with training in the Latin and Greek classics, instilled in him the values of self‐command of a Stoic cast, frugality, diligence in his calling, and strict justice towards others tempered with benevolence, which characterized his actions and his teaching. At the same time, he seemed to have developed an independence of mind, which led him to rebel against the strict controls of Calvinism meant to check human depravity, and to set store by human goodness, and the will to enjoy natural liberty.

Keywords:   agriculture, Calvinism, mother, self‐command, Stoic

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