Adam Smith Reference Archive

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of

The Wealth of Nations



Written: 1766 - 1776
First Published: 1776
Source: The Wealth of Nations, The Modern Library, © 1937
Publisher: Random House, Inc.
Transcription/Markup: Brian Baggins
Online Version: Adam Smith Reference Archive ( 2000


Having spent 10 years putting together this material in sum, Smith's 1776 Wealth of Nations had an enourmous impact among the rising bourgeois of Europe and the freshly independent United States of America.

The institutions of Feudalism, largely still surviving throughout Europe in 1776, placed a variety of restrictions and impedements on the rising industrial bourgeoisie — US revolutionists had ardently broken from it in the same year. Smith's work provided the theoretical cannon shot for the chorus of growing bourgeois to strike back against Feudalist bureacracy and philsophy; giving them a philosophical manifesto behind which to stand, and an idealised government towards which to fight for. Smith was convinced that Feudalism's controls over the further development of Europe's economies would strangle industrial growth; and explained that the only correct way to practice economics was to do it by the dictates of capitalism, not the now defunct feudalism.

This work has been transcribed from the revised fifth edition, the last print made in Adam Smith's lifetime. Footnotes may not be completely transcribed; the edition used to transcribe this work had the editor's footnotes integrated without any differential marking, making any distinguishing between the authors' and editors' notes nearly impossible. Note that the word "On" was used in place of the old-english word "Of" in Chapter beginnings.


Book I: On the Causes of Improvement in the Productive Powers. On Labour, and on the Order According to Which its Produce is Naturally Distributed Among the Different Ranks of the People.

On the Division of Labour  21 k
On the Principle which gives occasion to the Division of Labour  11 k
That the Division of Labour is limited by the Extent of the Market  14 k
On the Origin and Use of Money  16 k
On the Real and Nominal Price of Commodities, or their Price in Labour,
and their Price in Money
  41 k
On the Component Parts of the Price of Commodities  18 k
On the Natural and Market Price of Commodities  22 k
On the Wages of Labour  56 k
On the Profits of Stock  26 k
On Wages and Profit in the different Employments of Labour and Stock
  (in three parts)
110 k
On the Rent of Land
  (in six parts)
184 k


Book II: On the Nature, Accumulation, and Employment of Stock

Introduction     6 k
On the Division of Stock   19 k
On Money considered as a particular Branch of the general Stock of the
Society, or of the Expense of maintaining the National Capital

  (in two pages)
113 k
On the Accumulation of Capital, or of Productive and Unproductive Labour   47 k
On Stock Lent at Interest   21 k
On the Different Employment of Capitals   39 k


Book III: On the different Progress of Opulence in different Nations

On the Natural Progress of Opulence   13 k
On the Discouragement of Agriculture in the ancient State of Europe
after the Fall of the Roman Empire
  28 k
On the Rise and Progress of Cities and Towns after the Fall of the
Roman Empire
  27 k
How the Commerce of the Towns Contributed to the Improvement
of the Country
  32 k


Book IV: On Systems of political Economy

Introduction     2 k
On the Principle of the Commercial, or Mercantile System   55 k
On Restraints upon the Importation from Foreign Countries of such Goods
as can be produced at Home
  49 k
On the extraordinary Restraints upon the Importation of Goods of almost all
kinds from those Countries with which the Balance is supposed to be

  (in two parts)
  66 k
On Drawbacks   14 k
On Bounties
  (in two pages)
  99 k
On Treaties of Commerce   29 k
On the Motives for establishing new Colonies
  (in four pages)
213 k
Conclusion of the Mercantile System   50 k
On the Agricultural Systems, or of those Systems of Political Economy
which represent the Produce of Land as either the sole or the principal
Source of the Revenue and Wealth every Country
  64 k
Appendix  10 k


Book V: On the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth

On the Expenses of the Sovereign or Commonwealth
  (in six pages)
302 k
On the Sources of the General or Public Revenue of the Society
  (in seven pages)
238 k
On Public Debts
  (in three pages)
110 k