America & Mr. Smith Viewing Guide Key

Mercantilism: the economic theory that trade generates wealth, and therefore governments should encourage exports and discourage imports, in order to accumulate gold and silver.

  1. Adam Smith’s ideas flowed through the heart of the American Constitution.
  2. Smith thought that the Americans were victims of the mercantilist system.
  3. Adam Smith believed open and free trade was best for Britain and America.
  4. Adam Smith did not see any way in which the colonies would ever be profitable to Britain.
  5. In 1776, just months before America’s seething discontent burst into outright rebellion, The Wealth of Nations was published.
  6. Colonial Americans found Smith very interesting because his books provided a blueprint on how to create a nation.
  7. Included in the Library of Congress collections is the personal library of Thomas Jefferson, a lifelong admirer of Adam Smith.
  8. The nature of the Constitution, the nature of the revolution, the whole philosophy of politics as it is in the United States is embedded in that collection.
  9. Jefferson didn’t just read Smith’s book; he frequently studied it, referenced it, and recommended it to others.
  10. Both Madison and Smith believed that while human beings are strongly motivated by self-interest, they are also capable of virtue.
  11. What you see in the Constitution is an attempt to implement and integrate into a governmental plan are some of the ideas Smith had about what could allow for a prosperous society.
  12. “The sovereign is completely discharged from a duty [for which] no human wisdom or knowledge could ever be sufficient; the duty of superintending the industry of private people.”
  13. When faced with the challenge of how to create and structure a new nation, the Founders turned to the Enlightenment and to Adam Smith for guidance.
  14. Who was Adam Smith? Why was he interested in the American colonies?
  15. What did Adam Smith think would be the best arrangement between Britain and the colonies?
  16. Why did Britain need such a large navy back in the 18th century?
  17. Why did Britain want to control its colonies to monopolize trade?
  18. Why was The Wealth of Nations widely read in the American colonies, including by many of the Founders?
America & Mr. Smith Viewing Guide - KEY