World History



























































Adam Smith

Adam Smith is often called the "father of economics".

Enlightenment thinking wasn’t limited to politics; it extended to other areas of society such as economics and women’s rights. In 1776, Scottish philosopher Adam Smith published an influential book called The Wealth of Nations; it is considered the first full explanation of the capitalist economic system. Smith said rulers should stop trying to control their nations’ economies. Economies would work best, he said, if they were left alone to control themselves through the “invisible hand” of competition in a free market. Smith’s belief came to be known as laissez faire (LES-ay-fair), French for “leave it alone.”

Scotland = one of the four “countries” comprising the United Kingdom, occupying the northern part of the island of Great Britain.

Adam Smith = a man who is often called the “father of economics.” In his most famous book, The Wealth of Nations (1776), he argues that governments should not interfere in the business world, but should instead allow businesses to “laissez faire”.

laissez faire = a French expression which means “Let do” or “Let people do as they choose”. It describes a system or point of view that opposes regulation or interference by the government in economic affairs.

English writer Mary Wollstonecraft believed Enlightenment ideas about equality should apply to women as well as men. Her book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, proposed that educational systems be reformed to give girls the same education as boys. Her controversial ideas had little immediate effect, but they became a foundation for the women’s movement that would arise in the next century.

Mary Wollstonecraft = an English writer and early feminist who denied male supremacy and advocated equal education for women. (She was also the mother of Mary Shelly, the famous author of the gothic novel Frankenstein).