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The Wealth of Nations

1796 edition of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations

Book, 1796, Adam Smith (Scottish, 1723-1790), Paper, Donated by J.W. Young, 1962.6.1.

This version of Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol. III was printed in 1796 by Thomas Dobson of Philadelphia. This small book has a brown, marbled cover; it was originally owned by Charles (“Chaz”) McClung, an early politician and surveyor of Knoxville. His signature is seen on the title page pictured. Smith’s classic work on economics was originally published 20 years earlier, the same year as the Declaration of Independence. Smith writes, “What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconveniency to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.”

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